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State Rep. McSweeney's next consolidation target: school districts

Daily Herald

Tuesday, August 13, 2019  |  Article  |  Doug T. Graham

McSweeney, David--State House, 52

Now that his legislation making it easier to dissolve townships in McHenry County has been signed into law, state Rep. David McSweeney says he'll focus on consolidating other local governments, including school districts.


"It doesn't make any sense for there to be so many small school districts (in Illinois)," McSweeney, a Barrington Hills Republican, said Monday.


McSweeney said he prefers unit school districts, which educate students from preschool or kindergarten through high school.


"I favor reduction for all units of government," he said. "We have around 7,000 units of local government in Illinois, which is way too much."


McSweeney's township plan, signed into law Friday by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, gives McHenry County voters the authority to dissolve any McHenry County township via referendum. If a township were dissolved, the duties and assets of the township government would be absorbed by McHenry County or municipal governments.


The plan was supported by McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks, a Democrat who once chaired the state's consolidation commission.


"(As chair) I learned it was extraordinarily easy to create a government but very difficult to eliminate one," Franks said. "I always think it is better when citizens get to decide how they are governed."


Franks said he hopes McSweeney pursues consolidation for schools next.


"It's certainly a rich place to mine," Franks said. "The number of administrators has increased while student population has been declining."


"How many superintendents do we need? We've gotten too fat," Franks said.