Immediate Impact of the Budget Mess in Illinois

One of the more detailed overviews of the immediate impact of the budget mess in Illinois on the state’s college and university campuses has been provided by George Gallanis in a March 29 article for the World Socialist Web Site:

“Earlier this month Southern Illinois University, located in Carbondale, announced the potential layoffs of 180 faculty and staff positions, 300 student-worker positions and the slashing of 20 percent of its total operating budget, amongst other cuts.

“On March 14 Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago began furloughing roughly 1,000 workers, requiring them to take one unpaid day each week. Through this maneuver NEIU is expecting to save between $225,000 and $250,000 per week as workers see their paychecks dwindle.

“In Charleston, Eastern Illinois University workers may be expected to take a “deferral in salaries.” In other words, workers may receive cuts to their salaries ranging anywhere from 2.5 to 7.5 percent dependent upon income. Faculty and academic personnel recently voted down a proposed 5.6 percent flat rate cut for all employees.

“Western Illinois University (WIU) in Macomb has announced fiscal cuts for the next two years beginning July 1, 2016. WIU already slashed $5 million from its current fiscal budget with $4 million expected to be sliced off by the end of June. The cuts will be accommodated by mandatory furloughs for non-negotiated personnel beginning April 1 in addition to the layoff of approximately 100 workers. WIU is currently covering $11 million worth of MAP grants for students.

“Last Wednesday, the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago sent out letters to 738 students announcing they would no longer cover the costs of their MAP grants which have been unfunded due to the budget impasse. As a result, these students will not be able to register for classes on April 4 for next year’s semester until they pay the cost of tuition the MAP grants were originally going to cover. The university has set up loans for students to cover the new costs, which will remain interest-free through September. Beyond that, their loans will be hit with a 6.8 percent interest rate.

“The community college Parkland College, located in Champaign, has cut 46 positions from its staff alongside cuts to programming. Meanwhile, Oakton Community College has raised tuition by 10.8 percent this year and may raise it by the same amount next year. Joliet Junior College has also raised its tuition this year and Highland Community College in Freeport and Rock Valley College in Rockford will most likely see tuition increases come next school year.

“In Carterville, students at John A. Logan Community College staged protests against staff layoffs and the cutting of services and programs. The college recently announced that 55 employees are to be laid off in the coming months. Commenting on the cuts, a mother of a student at John A. Logan told the WPSD Local 6 news, ‘I have another daughter who is hearing impaired, and they’re cutting all of our interpreters at the school. So, they’re setting her up to fail. . . .”

Gallanis’ complete article is available at: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/03/29/iled-m29.html.

 

But Gallanis’ article does not include anything on the worst affected institution in the State. Here is a short but very telling item by Jodi S. Cohen for the Chicago Tribune:

“In a dramatic sign of how Illinois’ budget crisis is affecting higher education, Chicago State University officials are telling all employees and students to turn in their keys.

The unusual request for employees to hand over their keys to campus buildings and offices by next week comes as the university, which serves mostly minority and low-income students, said it must prepare for possible widespread layoffs to begin as early as April 30.

“The South Side public university, like all public higher education in Illinois, has not received state money for nearly 10 months as a budget impasse in Springfield shows no sign of ending. But the budget situation is most dire for Chicago State; it will not have enough money to cover payroll after April and could be forced to lay off a significant number of employees.

“Unlike more financially stable public schools such as the University of Illinois or Southern Illinois University, about one-third of Chicago State’s budget — about $36 million — comes from the state, and the school doesn’t have a large enough endowment or cash reserves to keep it afloat. . . .

“The directive comes at a precarious time for the university; it is walking a difficult line between conveying to legislators its dire financial circumstances while also convincing current students the doors will stay open and new students that they should enroll for fall semester. Indeed, the university announced Tuesday that it would open registration for the summer and fall semesters next week and that tuition would not increase next academic year. . . .”

Cohen’s complete article is available at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-chicago-state-keys-budget-crisis-20160329-story.html.

 

 

 

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