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Judge sides with Ill. governor in regional superintendents' pay dispute

(via Flickr/alkruse24)

Updated 5:12 p.m. with statement from Gov. Pat Quinn

Updated 1:20 p.m. with statement from superintendents

A circuit judge has upheld Gov. Pat Quinn's authority to eliminate salaries for regional school superintendents across Illinois.

Sangamon County Judge John Schmidt says the governor has "broad power" to control state spending. He ruled Friday that it would be wrong to "thrust the court into the appropriations process."

Quinn vetoed about $10 million in salaries for 44 superintendents and about 40 assistants. They've been working without pay since July 1.

They perform a list of duties -- many required by the state -- including certifying teachers, doing background checks and running truancy programs.

But the Democratic governor called them unnecessary bureaucrats. He said if local officials want to keep them, they should come up with local money to pay them.

“It is a important policy issue of you know, how are we doing to pay for educational bureaucrats?" Quinn said. "We think it should be paid from local money, that they get.”

A statement from the superintendents says the ruling "doesn't change that we believe this situation is totally unfair and against what this state stands for."

They say they will meet Friday afternoon to discuss what they might do next.

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky used in this report.

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