Unpaid Illinois Regional Superintendents have new hope

Neiderhauser is one of 44 working without pay.

Illinois' 44 regional superintendents are working through their fourth month without a single paycheck. That's because Governor Pat Quinn cut their funding without cutting their positions back in July.

"I've haven't had a paycheck since June 30, and thankfully we've been able to do it okay, but I can't continue to do it forever," said Debbie Neiderhauser, who sees over Adams and Pike County schools.

Neiderhauser says her job clearly means more to her than her governor who'd rather put a handful of people in charge over all the state's schools than the 44 regional superintendents that oversee them now.

"We're local in our areas. I have a vested interest in Adams and Pike Counties. People in Springfield may not have that same type of ownership and allegiance with this area," said Neiderhauser.

It's that loyalty that has kept her going to the office every day without pay.

That could change in the next week as lawmakers go into their fall veto session. They can either reverse Quinn's cuts or vote for new legislation proposed by the house speaker, Michael Madigan. But issues concerning whether these superintendents can keep their retirement funds and the money owed to them the last four months is unclear.

"If we can get those issues worked out, then we have no problem with this new legislation. We would support it, not lobby for it but we're not going to oppose it," said Bob Daiber, the president of the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools.

But Senator John Sullivan says he doesn't see much support for this new legislation.

"I would much prefer that we simply do the veto override. That's cleaner, that's simpler. That's what we did with the original bill and I think we need to keep it that way," said Sullivan.

"The veto override would simply put back in the money the house and the senate had put in for our offices," said Neiderhauser.

"I do feel like if we can get the bills to the floor and voted on then we will have the support to override the veto," said Sullivan.

"I try not to think about it. I'm a person who believes that God is in control of this. I know that it's going to work out," said Neiderhauser.

If the issue of the Regional Superintendent pay is not resolved by the end of the veto session, Daiber says an executive session with the superintendents will take place where some type of legal response will be discussed.