House Ok’s Bill to Fire State Education Board, Curtail Gov’s Power to Appoint Board; Superintendent Could be Booted

(Springfield, IL) – The Illinois House yesterday approved legislation, 91-24, that would end the terms of the current nine-member Illinois State Board of Education, strip the governor’s power to directly appoint board members, and curb the governor’s power to propose a state superintendent to the board.

State Rep. Lou Lang

State Rep. Lou Langboard.

Sponsored by State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), the bill creates a new and permanent seven-member nomination panel that would identify, evaluate, and submit a list of qualified education board candidates to the Governor for his or her consideration.

““This bill would reform the State Board (of Education) by taking it farther away from the political system,” said Lang.

Lang’s proposal empowers a new state board of education to fire the current superintendent if it chooses.

The House approval of Lang’s proposal is a dramatic reversal for the legislature.

In 2004, lawmakers gave the Governor’s authority to bring the state board more directly under the office’s control, granting former Governor Rod Blagojevich the power to immediately appoint seven board members.

Lang said he has no opposition to the current board.

“I just want to get to a point where this board is no longer beholden to the governor in any way, shape or form,” he said.

State Board of Education board is neutral on Lang’s bill.

Last year, the House approved a nearly identical measure 86-21.

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