SPRINGFIELD -- A lawsuit filed by Illinois’ regional school superintendents to have their pay reinstated has been continued to give attorneys for the state time to file their response.

SPRINGFIELD -- A lawsuit filed by Illinois’ regional school superintendents to have their pay reinstated has been continued to give attorneys for the state time to file their response.

Circuit Judge John Schmidt gave the state until Thursday to file a written response. He scheduled another hearing in the case for Thursday afternoon.

Schmidt said he understands that the superintendents are not being paid, but said the lawsuit involves constitutional issues and he doesn’t want to make a ruling until he’s seen the state’s written arguments. He told attorneys for the state they could not have until Monday to file as requested.

Schmidt told lawyers for both sides to be prepared to explain why a temporary restraining order should or shouldn’t be issued in the case. The lawsuit asks Schmidt to issue such an order.

Schmidt noted that restraining orders are usually issued to stop someone from doing something.  In this case, the regional superintendents want to compel the state to pay their salaries, which are set by law.

“It (the order) stops the state from violating the law,” said Bob Daiber, president of the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools.

Daiber said the pay issue is critical for the regional superintendents and their assistants.  He said Brad Harriman, regional superintendent of St. Clair County, has said he will leave his post at the end of the month. Daiber’s own assistant, Andrew Reinking, resigned Aug. 15, “due to financial hardship,” Daiber said.

Regional superintendents and their assistants filed suit Friday to force the state to pay their salaries. They have gone unpaid since July 1 after Gov. Pat Quinn cut money from the state budget to pay them. 

Sangamon County Regional Superintendent Jeff Vose said he’s exhausted his savings, liquidated an individual retirement account and obtained a bank loan to make ends meet. Even if he receives back pay at some point, Vose estimates he will lose “a couple of thousand dollars if not more” because of the loan costs and lost interest income.

“I really don’t know how to continue on beyond September 13,” Vose said. “This has become an extremely challenging situation to me.”

Doug Finke can be reached at (217) 788-1527.