Education Desk: ISBE Officials Skip Quiz On Perks

Oct 21, 2015

Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, chairs the State Government Administration Committee
Credit ilga.gov

Top officials of the state board of education declined to appear before a House committee yesterday to answer questions about costly perks being paid to the board’s superintendent, Tony Smith. Smith was appointed by Gov. Bruce Rauner, and receives a stipend on top of his $225,000 salary. 

Representative Jack Franks, a Marengo Democrat who chairs the committee, said their absence shows disrespect and a lack of transparency.

“This is the first administration that doesn’t require its agencies to appear before committees," Franks said. "And it could not have come at a worse time for taxpayers."

Some lawmakers suggested sending the questions in a letter, but Franks said no.

“I categorically reject that request,” he said. "We’re not a friendship society; we are the General Assembly and we are the oversight committee for the State of Illinois. I cannot cross-examine a letter.” 

Smith’s contract also provides that he will do annual self-evaluations before receiving salary increases.