Greetings members of AIRSS,
I share with you today the great news that after years of hard work and strong rural advocacy, on August 4th, 2023 Governor JB Pritzker signed into law Senate Bill 1787 – The Rural Education Advisory Council. I waited to see the certification document signed by the Illinois Secretary of State before we published this news.
The signing of this bill is the culmination of a vision and a plan to cement in legislation a formal place for the rural education voice to reside and be heard. The bill sets forth the Rural Education Advisory Council and will convene on or after January 1, 2024. Below I will highlight an excerpt from the opening paragraph of the law and how the membership of the council will be selected.
This is an important day for Illinois rural and small schools, maybe even a landmark day as we now join only one other state (Colorado) to have this law in place and a legislated commitment to listen to the needs and concerns of rural and small schools.
I could not be prouder of the work we have accomplished. Dr. Patrick Twomey was with me from the beginning, along with his unwavering support throughout this challenging process. Dr. Garrison joined in as she assumed the Presidency of AIRSS and brought with her the experiences from EBF and the tenacity to engage in the legislative process. We will look back on this moment as one of our crowning achievements, however, history will be the judge of how well we utilize this legislation to support rural and small schools and the children we represent.
With great regard for the work,
David M. Ardrey
Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools