http://ift.tt/2icEoT9BY TRAVIS DENEAL
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS – Two area junior colleges are among seven statewide that received emergency funding the Illinois Community College Board announced Friday morning. Southeastern Illinois College and John A. Logan College will each receive $428,571.42 as their share of $3 million distributed evenly among the seven community colleges. According to a news release from ICCB, the districts were selected based on criteria established by a special board meeting on Dec. 7. Assumed minimal local property tax funding and demonstration of evidence of steps taken to reduce costs that required reducing staff and programs also were included in the selection criteria. “The emergency funds announced (Friday) ensure those community colleges with the fewest financial resources can continue to operate while we wait for the General Assembly to pass a full, comprehensive balanced budget,” ICCB chair Dr. Lazaro Lopez said. “Despite today’s action, community colleges across the state will continue to struggle without the adequate resources and predictability that comes with a full-year state budget and structural changes to fix the overall system. David Wright, executive dean of administrative services and chief financial officer for SIC, said the emergency funding will go into the general fund. “SIC received $428,571 in emergency funding from the state, and this money will be placed in our general fund and spent along with fund reserves which are needed to make up for the lack of state funding,” Wright said on Friday. Wright said over the past two years, the college has been cut close to 60 percent in state funding. “In FY2016 and FY2017 combined, the college received a total of $4.1 million in funding, well below the FY2015 funding level, which was the last time the state had a full year budget,” he said. While the area community colleges are pleased to receive at least a small amount of state money to be able to continue to run while Illinois’ budget impasse continues, the amount is not nearly enough, JALC President Dr. Ron House said. “We are certainly thankful to get the money, but this is not part of our budget nor does it solve any budget issues,” House said. In September, ICCB passed a resolution declaring a state of emergency for Illinois’ entire community college system because of the widespread massive loss of state revenue. ICCB 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.