Springfield, IL…. Responding to outcry from her constituents regarding the financial situation in the Lincoln-Way School District and the decision to close a high school, Representative McDermed has filed several school district oversight bills. In addition to filing House Resolution 808 asking the Illinois Auditor General to conduct an audit of the Lincoln-Way High School District 210 Board of Education, Representative McDermed has now filed House Bills 4309 and 4322.

House Bill 4309 creates an Inspector General position at the Illinois State Board of Education. The Inspector General at ISBE will have the authority to conduct investigations into allegations of, or incidents of, waste, fraud, and financial mismanagement in public education by a school district or its school board or by an employee, contractor, or member of the school board. The position will be appointed by ISBE, but the office will remain independent of the state board.

“In speaking with my constituents I heard a lot of concern that, other than waiting years for the next election, there is little remedy for constituents when possible mismanagement or abuse happens at the school board level” Rep McDermed said. “The state has an inspector general to guarantee that there is accountability in state agencies, it’s time we brought that same accountability to those we entrust with our children’s education.”

House Bill 4322 would impact the process by which school closures occur. School boards would need to appoint a district advisory committee to advise and make recommendations to the school board before they make any decisions on whether a school closes. The bill also outlines the different information that the committee must gather including enrollment projections, capacity and conditions of the district schools, per-student operating costs at each school, and the different programs offered among the schools.

“Many of my constituents had questions as to how a school board goes about making the decision to close a school and what factors are considered” Rep McDermed said. “There are few standards and regulations currently in practice when it comes to the closure process and this is a way to insure that school boards are taking into account all angles of the situation. We need to make certain that careful consideration is given to these big decisions and that there is enough transparency in the process.”

The Chicago School District and the Chicago Board of Education would be exempt from House Bill 4322 and the authority of ISBE’s Inspector General as a similar position already exists specifically for CPS.


Illinois’ New Auditor General
         Unfortunately, not much happened regarding the legislative impasse when the House and Senate met for the first time in almost a month last Tuesday. However, both chambers did approve of the bipartisan Audit Commission’s recommendation to make State Representative Frank Mautino of Spring Valley the next Auditor General. William Holland, who has been the state’s auditor for over 20 years, is retiring at the end of this year. The commission accepted applications from around the country and chose from candidates with a variety of backgrounds.
         I voted against this appointment. While I think that Rep Mautino is a good person and a good legislator, I think we should have looked outside Illinois State Government to fill the position. Illinois is a countrywide punchline when it comes to corruption and mismanagement of state funds. I think the position would have benefited from an outside and assuredly unbiased eye. I wish the best of luck to Rep Mautino as he fills the big shoes of Bill Holland who served the state with great character.

Education Bills Filed
         After holding a town hall to hear the concerns of constituents about the Lincoln Way School district’s financial situation and the closing of Lincoln Way North, I filed a few bills that will hopefully help put some transparency in the school closing process and can help monitor school board activity.
         House Bill 4309 creates an Inspector General position at the Illinois State Board of Education. The Inspector General at ISBE will have the authority to conduct investigations into allegations of, or incidents of, waste, fraud, and financial mismanagement in public education by a school district or its school board or by an employee, contractor, or member of the school board. The position will be appointed by ISBE, but the office will remain independent of the state board.
         House Bill 4322 would impact the process by which school closures occur. School boards would need to appoint a district advisory committee to advise and make recommendations to the school board before they make any decisions on whether a school closes. The bill also outlines the different information that the committee must gather including enrollment projections, capacity and conditions of the district schools, per-student operating costs at each school, and the different programs offered among the schools.

Principal For a Day
mokena_elementary.jpg         Mokena Elementary bestowed upon me the honor of being principal for a day last week. Being Principal for a day was eye opening. I visited several classrooms, read to kindergartners, and took questions from some of the kids. I was pleased they were not shy and asked interesting questions. They had a pretty good idea about state government and the 3rd graders all knew the capitol and many had been there. TI admired all the hard work the teachers put in and the great spirit at Mokena Elementary.

Senior Fair
          Thank you to all the service providers who took part in my senior fair on October 15th and thank you to all the seniors who attended! I thought it was very successful. I hope it was informative and plan to do it again next year.
Rep McDermed reading to Kindergartners 
State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) was made principal for a day on Monday at Mokena Elementary School. 
Rep McDermed takes questions from eager 2nd graders


Scores of seniors perused tables at the senior fair hosted Thursday by State Representative McDermed. The first of this soon to be annual event was held at The Oaks in the Mokena Park district and featured vendors representing services and products related to the elderly.
NEW LENOX – A state representative has filed legislation asking the Illinois Auditor General to conduct a performance audit that would include a review of state funds at Lincoln-Way High School District 210.

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After McDermed held a town hall meeting specifically for Lincoln-Way residents, she decided to file a resolution seeking an audit from Illinois Auditor General William Holland. Residents at the meeting said they were upset at district officials for their lack of transparency and financial accountability.

“One of the things that came out of the town hall was a request from folks to ask the Illinois Auditor General to do [an audit],” McDermed said.

Read more from The Herald News
Mokena, IL…. State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) announces her 2015 Senior Fair on Thursday October 15th at the Oaks in the Mokena Park District, 10925 W La Porte Rd from 10am – 12noon.  The fair is free and open to the public.

“I encourage senior citizens in the 37th House District to come to the fair and learn about the businesses, doctors, and non-for-profits that work to improve their lives,” said Rep McDermed. 

The fair will feature state and local providers of services to seniors that can help improve wellness and make life more enjoyable. Some free health screenings will be available. In addition staff from the General Assembly and state agencies will be able to assist constituents with state government concerns. 
Springfield, IL…. State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) has filed House Bill 4297, colloquially known in other states as the ‘Beagle Freedom Bill’.

According to the Beagle Freedom Project, beagles are the most popular breed for lab use because of their friendly, docile, trusting, forgiving, people-pleasing personalities. The research industry says they adapt well to living in a cage and are inexpensive to feed.

HB 4297 would create the Research Dogs and Cats Adoption Act. It would require state funded higher education institutions or research facilities associated with state higher education institutions to offer dogs and cats used in their research efforts to animal rescue organizations for adoption before considering euthanasia.

 “A good family friend of mine has a rescue beagle named Frances and she brought this issue to my attention.” Rep. McDermed said. “I want to help make sure these animals get the second chance they deserve. Many research labs already make the attempt to find homes for these animals, but it needs to be the practice throughout the state.”

A similar bill died in the last legislative session over concerns by the University of Illinois’ agriculture department. Rep. McDermed took the issues raised by U of I and compromised by making reasonable exceptions to the adoption mandate while maintaining the primary intent of helping these animals find good homes after a hard life.

Read more about the bill here