Illinois regional superintendents of schools erupted in applause Thursday as the Senate approved a measure to give them paychecks for the first time since June. The bill passed with two votes to spare, and it now moves to the governor. The regional superintendents will be paid from the corporate personal property replacement tax, which is money used for local municipalities, until the end of the fiscal year (June 30, 2012).
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That doesn’t sit well with some lawmakers, but State Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) says paying elected officials is the right thing to do. “Don’t do the wrong thing because you’re upset where the money’s coming from or you didn’t make that decision,” she says. “I don’t want my municipalities to be affected either. But right is right, and wrong is wrong, and when you do a job you deserve to be compensated for that work.” State Sen. Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) sympathizes with the superintendents, but she says it’s wrong to take money away from local governments. “Because our governor decided to arbitrarily not fund them because he doesn’t think the office is worthwhile, that’s where the real fault lies,” she says. “It doesn’t lie, however, with our local governments.” Lawmakers must also decide the future of the regional superintendents’ office sometime this spring. Some favor abolition of the office.