ICC to offer buyouts to faculty and administrators

http://ift.tt/2g14enrPam Adams Journal Star education reporter @padamspam

EAST PEORIA — In light of ongoing issues with state funding, Illinois Central College is offering voluntary retirement incentives to about one-third of full-time faculty and administrative staff.

Trustees unanimously approved the plan Thursday.

“If we can get people to leave voluntarily, it saves us from making involuntary terminations later,” said trustee Sue Portscheller.

Eligible employees include 63 of 172 full-time faculty members and nine of 33 administrators. They would receive four months’ salary, based on their base pay, if they accept the offer to retire in June 2017.

“This is one of my least favorite type of actions to take. However, I do understand the situation we’re in,” said trustee Gale Thetford.

Thetford cautioned the board not to view the retirement incentive as a way to save money by replacing faculty with new, lower-paid hires. “Many of these positions will not be filled or not for a very long time.”

ICC President Sheila Quirk-Bailey could not guarantee that the move won’t prevent layoffs. The college won’t know how much money will be saved until it knows how many people take the buyout offer, she said after the meeting.

The voluntary retirement incentive is one of many strategies the college has undertaken to control costs, she said.

The board also approved a tax levy request of $35.4 million for 2016.

Though the overall tax rate of 49 cents per $100 assessed valuation will not increase, the Illinois Community College Board gave the permission, and trustees approved a special tax levy increasing the operating tax rate by 4.97 cents. The college lowered other tax rates to keep the overall tax rate at the same level.

Between the special tax levy and anticipated increases in total equalized assessed valuation of the taxing district, the levy request is about $700,000 more than the 2015 fiscal year.

Trustees also approved a new associate in applied science business degree program. The degree essentially replaces separate degree programs in management, marketing and finance.

The board began the meeting with a moment of silence and a proclamation for James Polk, a trustee who died earlier this month. They are scheduled to announce the process to be used to name his replacement Friday.

Pam Adams is the Journal Star education reporter. She can be reached at 686-3245 and padams@pjstar.com. Follow her on Twitter @padamspam.

ICC to offer buyouts to faculty and administrators

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