County Board approves changes to regional education office


The Franklin-Williamson Regional Office of Education may be getting a name change.

The Franklin County Board agreed Tuesday to a joint resolution sought by the Franklin-Williamson Regional Office of Education to incorporate Johnson County into its office. Johnson County’s Board had already passed the joint resolution last week, and Williamson County Board members voted in favor of it on Thursday morning.

The office expansion stems from a request by Franklin-Williamson Regional Superintendent Matt Donkin, and is prompted by state efforts to reduce the number of regional offices statewide. A state law passed last spring requires that the number of regional offices of education be reduced from 44 to 35 by July 1, 2015, the date the next term of office for the state’s elected regional superintendents begins.

Offices that serve populations of less than 61,000 people have until June 30 to consolidate with larger offices. The Franklin-Williamson office serves a larger population and does not have to consolidate. But Johnson County, which is part of ROE 2, a 5-county office that also serves Alexander, Massac, Pope and Union counties, is affected. If the offices do not consolidate by June 30, the state board of education will step in and mandate the new districts.

Regional offices of education serve as liaisons between the Illinois Board of Education and local school districts. They oversee programs including teacher certification, GED testing, bus driver training and truancy prevention.

County Board approves electric aggregation ballot question


The Franklin County Board set into motion a process that will have voters in unincorporated areas given a chance to answer a ballot question on electric aggregation.

The County Board voted to place a referendum on the spring ballot that mirrors what cities and villages, have done on the question. As those previous votes in the county have done, this question will ask if unincorporated areas should allow the County Board to have the power to choose electrical suppliers at a cost savings for residents.

This was painted as a small number of residents in Franklin County, because electric aggregation cannot be done for residents served by rural electric cooperatives, only those served by large utilities, such as Ameren.

However, at least one person at the table had a vested interest. Board member Tom Vaughn said, “I am one of those who would be affected.”  The number of people voting, and the location of what is thought to be “small pockets” of eligible households will determine which precincts carry the ballot question. The number of precincts impacted will also determine the overall cost of the putting the question on the ballot.

Other actions taken Tuesday include:

  • The Board also approved travel requests for the Coroner’s office, Sheriff’s Dept., and Supervisor of Assessments office.
  • Temporary employee replacements were approved in the County Clerk, Supervisor of Assessment, and Circuit Clerk offices.
  • Approved a mileage rate of 56 and one half cents per mile; Board member Ken Hungate voted “no.”
  • Accepted reports provided by Regional Office of Education Superintendent Matt Donkin.
  • Voted to keep previous reviewed closed session minutes closed.
  • Burton Wills was appointed to the Franklin County Board of Review. David Severin and Gerald Owens were named to the 708 Board, which oversees social service efforts in the county.

ROE announces latest distributions from school facilities sales tax

Franklin­-Williamson Regional Superintendent of Schools Matt Donkin’s office has received the payment of the Franklin County School Facilities Sales Tax for the sales month of  August 2012. The amount received was $200,834.07.

This money is divided and distributed to school districts with territory in Franklin County, based on the numbers of students enrolled in each district. The funds come from a 1 percent sales tax passed by Franklin County voters. Including the August payment, more than $1.6 million has been collected since the tax went into effect on Jan. 1, 2012.

The August sales tax money will be divided among area school districts as follows:

  • Akin CCSD 91: $2,917.99
  • Benton CCSD 47: $34,476.73 
  • Benton CHSD 103: $18,618.07
  • Christopher CUSD 99: $27,498.91 
  • Ewing-Northem CCSD 115: $6,660.64
  • Frankfort CUSD 168: $57,313.20
  • Sesser-Valier CUSD 196: $22,868.19
  • Thompsonville CUSD 174: $9,832.37
  • Zeigler-Royalton CUSD 188: $19,759.89
  • Hamilton County CUSD 10: $634.34
  • Herrin CUSD 4: $253.74

Teachers’ Retirement members can sign up to ask benefit questions

Potential retirees who are part of the Teachers’ Retirement System can get their questions answered through telephone conferences with TRS benefits counselors next month.

The Franklin-Williamson Regional Office of Education #21 is scheduling the conferences in cooperation with the TRS. They will be held Dec. 20 between 9 a.m. and 4:45 p.m., in 15-minute increments.

To sign up for a telephone conference slot, contact your local superintendent or call the Franklin-Williamson Regional Office, (618) 438-9711 to complete a request form. The deadline to request a conference is fast approaching. Request forms must be returned by mail or fax to the Regional Office of Education no later than Monday, Nov. 19.

Benton, West Frankfort, Illinois News | Franklin County News