SPRINGFIELD - Speaking after conclusion of the House Elementary & Secondary Education Committee Hearing Monday , State Representative Mike Unes (R-East Peoria) explained his strong opposition to State Rep. Linda Chapa-Lavia's (D-Aurora) House resolution to evaluate a takeover of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).
The IHSA is charged with governing the, “equitable participation in interscholastic athletics and activities” on behalf of the State of Illinois. House Resolution 895 proposed a series of hearings to examine ISBE taking over the duties of IHSA and administering it through the State Agency.
“ISBE simply does not have the resources or the desire to take over the duties performed by the Illinois High School Association. In a time when the state is broke, to examine a hostile takeover of these responsibilities is simply irresponsible,” said Unes.
Unes went on to cite the cost-savings the IHSA provides, “IHSA is able to raise money through private and corporate contributions and sponsorship, which offset the costs of administration of these programs for schools. One of my biggest concerns with this bill is the additional fiscal pressures this would place on an agency already telling the legislature they don’t have enough funding for current responsibilities. We can’t make participation in extracurricular activities more expensive for parents with no added benefits for students.”
“The IHSA has strong Central Illinois ties, being based in Bloomington, several IHSA State Tournaments being held annually in Peoria, and the new IHSA Peak Performance Center at the Peoria Riverfront Museum. This seems like a solution in search of a problem to me,” said Unes.
The IHSA responded to the resolution saying in part, "The Association has...shared millions of dollars of revenue with its members, and created great partnerships with communities such as Peoria and East Peoria, generating millions of tourism dollars all around Illinois."
House Resolution 895 passed out of the Elementary & Secondary Education Committee on a partisan vote of 8-6-0. It will now be reported to the full House for a vote.