Educators prepare for ROE consolidation

The school year isn’t even halfway over yet, but school districts in Illinois are already starting to plan for next year.

Right now schools in Alexander, Pulaski, Massac, Union, and Johnson Counties are all under District 2.

Starting in the summer of 2015 schools in Alexander, Pulaski, and Union Counties will be moved into a district with Jackson and Perry County Schools. Schools in Massac and Johnson County will be moved under the umbrella of the Franklin and Williamson County Regional Office of Education.

You may not have heard of it, but the Regional Office of Education plays a big role in your child’s education.

“You are behind the scenes, you are filling the gaps, you’re making sure the product on the floor looks seamless and taking care of all of the small details,” said Superintendent Matt Donkin.

With the consolidation of the five counties that formerly compromised District 2 into two separate districts the ability and budget of Regional Superintendent Matt Donkin to monitor the small details is being stretched throughout his new 100-mile region.

“In our case we’ve got more infrastructure,” said Donkin. “We’ve got more permanent facilities and programs to operate, and that does become a bit bigger of an issue.”

The consolidation was necessary after Illinois lawmakers voted to eliminate nine regional offices in a cost cutting move.

Illinois State Board of Education member Andrea Brown says the move will benefit students, and teachers.

“Across an area teachers can talk to each other and grants that are implemented can bounce off ideas so that they’re all on the up-swing,” said Andrea Brown.

“This consolidation was not anything that we asked for because there is plenty enough work to do across the state, but we’ve got to make the best of it that we can,” said Donkin.

The consolidation of districts will officially take place on July 1st of next year, but the transition in many departments has already begun.

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