Community colleges receive thousands in emergency funds

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CARTERVILLE — John A. Logan is just one of seven Illinois community colleges that will get thousands in emergency funds. The Illinois Community College Board announced Friday that a total of $3 million will be divided among them equally.

Over the past two years, junior colleges across the region have suffered financial strain due to state budget issues.

“It’s been the most unusual time in the last two years,” says Brad McCormick, John A. Logan College Vice President for Business Services & College Facilities.

So far in this fiscal year, John A. Logan has received $3.4 million.

“Last year we only received $3.1 million from the state. We usually receive $11 million,” explains McCormick.

In an effort to help colleges with the fewest financial resources, the Illinois Community College Board Logan gave Logan and six other colleges $428,571.42 in financial support. 

“We’re very thankful for that, but to put it into perspective, that’s less than one week of operating expenses for the college,” says McCormick.

The districts were selected based on measures taken to reduce expenditures, like cutting staff and programs. Initially, 55 positions were eliminated last March, which became effective June 30th.

“Since that time, we have been able to call a large number of those back, a significant number of them. Certainly not all of them. The majority of those are still not with us,” says McCormick.

The criteria was formulated on the assumption that districts with the least amount of local property tax funding will have the hardest time operating without state funding. The schools had to receive less than 25 percent of operating revenues from local taxes. Logan gets 21 percent.

McCormick says this year they’ve budgeted for $7 million. That’s about 63 percent of what they are accustomed to getting from the state.    

But McCormick says he’s hopeful that something positive will be done in Springfield.

“The college is equipped to meet our obligations through the rest of this fiscal year, through June 30, but we really need to see a permanent budget,” he said.

The colleges include Illinois Eastern Community Colleges, Kaskaskia College, Lake Land College, John A. Logan College, Rend Lake College, Shawnee Community College, and Southeastern Community College.

Although Friday’s announcement is welcome news for the state’s most vulnerable community college districts, there remains a great need system-wide. In September 2016, the ICCB passed a resolution declaring a state of emergency for the entire community college system due to the drastic loss of state revenue over the last two years. 

The Illinois Community College Board is the state coordinating board for community colleges. Illinois is home to 48 community colleges in 39 districts and has the third largest community college system in the nation, serving nearly 850,000 residents each year in credit and non-credit courses.

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Community colleges receive thousands in emergency funds

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