SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois High School Athletic Association (IHSA) is a non-profit organization that organizes and coordinates athletic competitions between Illinois schools. The group has been under the microscope of House Elementary and Secondary Committee chairman State Rep. Linda Chapa Lavia (D-Aurora), who sponsored a resolution to open hearings on the IHSA.
This week, Rep. Chapa Lavia held the first of three hearings at the Capitol on how the IHSA is operated and funded.
“They’re (the IHSA) the only organization I can think of that has this many school districts as members that is not a state agency, but they deal with 861 of our school districts,” Chapa LaVia said. “I can’t think of one organization that’s a not-for-profit that has the wide-reaching span that this organization does.”
Tuesday's hearing started off edgy as the hearing was scheduled in a small room at the Capitol complex, forcing many interested observers were forced to stand out in the hall. State Rep. Michael Unes (R-Canton) and others pushed for a larger hearing room.
When the hearing resumed in a larger room, Unes queried Chairman Chapa-Lavia, "This is not a state agency. Is it the business of this committee to be involved in a personnel matter for a private, not-for-profit organization that is not taking taxpayer money?”
He then asked a representative from the Board of Education if they could take on the work the IHSA does without costing Illinois taxpayers. He was told there would be a cost for taxpayers is that happened.