What is it about the governmental entities known as township schools boards of trustees that make them so hard to dismantle?
Talking to officials in many local school districts — all of whom are forced by state law to funnel money through these obsolete agencies for investment purposes — and you’ll get a familiar complaint: They don’t do anything we can’t do ourselves.
Lyons Township High School has been pressing to be freed from its tether and has taken in-house duties the township schools treasurer is supposed to provide. That hasn’t set well with the township schools trustees, who have turned around and sued LTHS.
The Illinois House has voted to let Lyons Township walk away from the township schools treasurer’s office, but it’s being held up in the senate by the head of the committee where the legislation currently sits — Sen. Steve Landek.
Of course, it’s not at all a giant surprise. Landek is tied politically to people who sit on the Lyons Township Trustees of Schools board. He’s tied to their relatives, politically. They contribute to one another’s campaign committees.
The brother of a contributor to the political committee of a township trustees board member’s brother (it gets complicated) landed a part-time job in the Lyons Township Trustees of Schools Office earlier this year while he finishes up his state endorsement to become a chief schools business officer.
There’s plenty of motivation for some to keep the antiquated township office — which operates only in Cook County.
But what are the taxpayers of Cook County getting out of it? Not a whole heck of a lot, unless you enjoy scandals, like the one about the former Lyons Township Trustees of Schools treasurer, who was convicted of embezzling funds and is now serving a nine-year prison sentence.
There’s little oversight, little accountability and lot of money flowing through these offices.
It’s far past time the state moves to abolish them.