Today, Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL) introduced the Local School Board Governance and Flexibility Act, legislation that ensures school districts continue to have the authority they need to carry out the policy decisions that are implemented by locally elected school board members. In 2001, at the age of 19, Schock was elected to the Peoria School Board. At 23, he was elected Board president, making him the youngest Board president in Illinois history. There are 861 school districts in Illinois.
"As a former school board president, I believe that the combination of parents, educators, employers and the local community must work together to ensure all children develop the skills and acquire the educational tools they will need to become successful. I believe a big part of this is ensuring local school boards do not have their authority eroded by regulators in Washington," said Schock. "Not all education regulations are misguided, but the ones that are need to be taken off the books. The focus has to be expanding the opportunity to learn; not tying the hands of local administrators with more red tape by federal bureaucrats. My legislation ensures this encroachment does not continue and restores the local authority school boards need."
Nearly all states, 49 out of 50 states, including Illinois, delegate the power and authority to decide the direction a school district should take to their local school boards. However, in recent years this local authority has been unnecessarily eroded through policies and requirements unilaterally established by federal agencies. One example is the Department of Education (DOE) placing additional requirements on school boards in order to receive a federal grant. These additional requirements, which typically are beyond the scope of that intended by Congress, cause school boards to shift resources that would have otherwise gone to support education programs for their students.
The Local School Board Governance and Flexibility Act ensures that federal agencies do not overstep their constitutional authority, strengthens the process for meaningful input by impacted stakeholders, and increases transparency of the Department of Education.
"Local school boards and local educators play a vital role in educating our nation's schoolchildren which should not be eroded by unnecessary federal regulations," said C. Ed Massey, National School Boards Association President and member of Kentucky's Boone County Board of Education. "The Local School Board Governance and Flexibility Act would ensure that local school boards have the ability to make decisions to create greater academic success for all students, efficiency, and responsiveness to the desires of local communities."
"The Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) applauds one of their own, Congressman Schock, for the introduction of the Local School Board Governance and Flexibility Act," said Susan Hilton, Director, Government Relations, IASB. "It's vital to the education process that local school boards, who are on the ground in the communities they are elected to represent, have the ability to make decisions and take the necessary actions that are in the best interest of their students. This legislation will ensure that local control is given priority over one size fits all regulations from Washington."