Durkin Advances Measure for Lyons Township HS

Springfield, IL...Legislation, House Bill 2614, sponsored by State Representative Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) unanimously passed through the Illinois House on Wednesday to allow Lyons Township High School District 204 to withdraw from the jurisdiction and authority of the Lyons Township Trustees of Schools.

“Currently, District 204 is being billed for services by the Lyons Township Trustee of Schools, services that are  currently being performed in house – accounts receivables, accounts payable, and payroll to name a few.  This is illogical and a gross waste of taxpayer dollars,” said Durkin. 

“Senator Radogno and I have been working with District 204 these past few years on a legislative solution that removes them from the auspices of the Lyons Township Trustees of Schools.  A recent scandal which led to the conviction of their former treasurer only further questions its mission to taxpayers and students,” said Durkin.   

“It has been a long haul for Lyons Township High School – and the taxpayers who support them -- as this corruption worked its way through the courts.  We are hopeful this will break the logjam and we will be successful in giving LTHS the authority to separate from the Trustees Office and its duplicate services,” said Senate Republican leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont)

“HB 2614 would require the local high school board to elect or appoint its own school treasurer to handle accounting and payroll duties. The legislature has previously granted this type of relief to Oak Park and River Forest High School, Morton High School and many other surburban school districts, and accordingly should do the same for Lyons Township,” said Durkin. 

Durkin added that the township treasurer is an outdated branch of government. Township School treasurer Offices, once the norm statewide, were originally established to assist school districts with financial issues but most were eliminated back in the 1960s – except in Cook County. Current law requires school districts within Class 11 (Cook) county school units to use the township treasurer. Class II schools do have the option of electing or appointing their own school treasurer, but must seek approval of at least 5 members of each school board in the District; they must pass a resolution to remove jurisdiction from each school board; the question must then go to the voters via referendum; and the majority of voters must agree to remove jurisdiction of township treasurer. 

“The current law as written makes it very difficult – if not impossible - for a school district to separate from the Township School Treasurer’s Office,” said Durkin. “I have passed similar bills through the House in the past.  Senator Radogno and I know it will be an uphill battle to get this bill onto the Governor’s desk but it isn’t going to stop us from pushing, because we trust the Lyons Township High School parents and school officials to know what is best for them and the decision whether or not to break away from the Township Treasurer should be theirs alone.”