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State commission takes input on district consolidation 

 
WTVO TV Rockford
April 30, 2012
By Marty Kasper

The Classrooms First Commission has two simple goals, improve educational opportunities and make sure all resources are being used as efficiently as possible. Steps Lt. Governor Shelia Simon says could save the state 1-billion dollars.

To do this the commission proposes eliminating programs that are outdated or aren't working, make sure teachers have support in the classroom, as well as ensure districts get equal opportunities for funding regardless of size or location.

The commission also encourages districts, especially ones with low attendance rates, to look at streamlining operations by realigning with neighboring districts to pool resources to help lessen the cost on tax payers.

Suggestions some districts say might help keep them afloat, and ones the commission is positive will save money on a local level.

"The way that we've approached this actuality will save the state money," Classrooms First Commissioner Michael Jacoby. "It might not be in state funding but it will definitely be at the local level if districts embrace some of the recommendations we've put forward."

"We're looking out for kids first, and our tax payers and our teachers," said Arthur Community School District superintendent Travis Wilson. "So, it's more of a survival situation in terms of some of the current educational polices that have impacted districts to such a negative extreme."

The commission plans to file it's report with the governor and general assembly by July 1st.