WSIU InFocus: Simon Institute to Host Ed Funding Conference

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WSIU’s Jennifer Fuller talks with Jak Tichenor and Delio Calzolari about the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute’s upcoming Education Funding Forum.

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February 28, 2017 at 09:39AM

WSIU InFocus: Simon Institute to Host Ed Funding Conference

Impact of Budget Stalemate on Illinois Higher Education

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ldG5B–r2Y

From Macomb: We talk one-on-on with Dr Jack Thomas, President of Western Illinois University. Dr Thomas has served as President of WIU for six years, and shares with us the economic impact of there being no state budget for the last two years, and how that’s hit both the university and the economy of the Western Illinois region.

Impact of Budget Stalemate on Illinois Higher Education

Our View: Rock Valley College will continue to fill vital role in community

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Rock Valley College is stable, accredited and not going anywhere. Credits students earn will continue to transfer to four-year universities. RVC will continue to offer a first-rate education at an affordable price. It will continue to meet the critical needs of the region.

None of that will change as the administration and trustees make difficult decisions to keep the college running as well for the next 50 years as it has for the past 50.

Trustees will consider laying off an unknown number of professors and instructors when they meet Tuesday. No one likes making these reductions in force, but they are necessary as officials work to fill holes in RVC’s budget.

The biggest hole has been created by the state of Illinois, which is supposed to provide the college with $6.6 million annually. It would take more than financial expertise — it would take magic — to balance a budget without layoffs and a fraction of the promised state funds.

Reductions in force are ugly, but common in education. They haven’t been used at RVC, but RIFs have often been used by local public schools trying to balance their books. Some of the laid-off teachers wind up coming back to work for their schools and it would not be surprising if that happens with the Rock Valley layoffs as well. Still, there will be people left without jobs.

The challenge for trustees, who are unpaid, is to ensure layoffs have minimal effect on the classroom. They have to ensure that limited resources are used as effectively as possible.

Rock Valley gives students a better chance to succeed in life. RVC has opened the doors for people who would not have had a crack at a college education.

It has opened some of those doors though partnerships. Rock Valley expanded its aviation program to accommodate the demand for workers at a maintenance, repair and overhaul facility at Chicago Rockford International Airport; it partnered with OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center to expand the nursing program; it partnered with Northern Illinois University to offer engineering degrees; and it partnered with the Rockford Register Star to create RVC Downtown, a location that has made the college more accessible for Rockford residents who live west of the Rock River.

Rock Valley College has a vital role in the life of this community. That will not change despite the current financial struggles.

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February 27, 2017 at 10:33AM

Our View: Rock Valley College will continue to fill vital role in community

Dunn Remains “Hopeful” for Senate Grand Bargain

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The Illinois Senate is expected to continue its work on the so-called “Grand Bargain” this week – and many fear this is the last, best hope for a spending plan.

SIU President Randy Dunn tells WSIU’s Jennifer Fuller that without passage of the bipartisan package of bills, the state may go two more years without a full budget.

“I have great concerns that if that doesn’t come to pass – that if we can’t get a budget out of the Senate that has some level of bipartisan support – we may go for another two years without any budget.”

And that, in his words, would be “bad.”
 
“We would have to see some sort of stop-gap payment, somewhere along the way. We’re really working with other universities to build support for that ’17 budget. It would also get us fairly close to a ‘normal’ budget if you look back to the last time we had one.”
 
The “Grand Bargain” package of bills, pending in the Senate, would increase the income tax, freeze property taxes temporarily, bring a casino license to Williamson County for Walker’s Bluff, and provide funding for agencies and organizations that have relied only on stop-gap funding for more than a year.
 

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February 27, 2017 at 08:40AM

Dunn Remains “Hopeful” for Senate Grand Bargain

Lack Of State Budget, Funding Lead To Cuts At Triton

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Posted: Sunday, February 26, 2017 3:52 pm

Lack Of State Budget, Funding Lead To Cuts At Triton

Journal Staff Report

Journal & Topics Media Group

After receiving just 27% of its state funding in the last two fiscal years resulting in a loss of $12.9 million in expected revenue, and a budget shortfall for this year of $6.3 million, Triton Community College directors took steps to close the budget gap.

The spending reduction measures made Feb. 21 to offset the $6.3 million funding gap include cutting travel and meeting expenses. In addition to non-personnel budget reductions totaling $950,000, retirement incentives were offered to eligible employees and a strategic hiring freeze was applied to several unfilled positions, school officials said.

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on

Sunday, February 26, 2017 3:52 pm.

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February 26, 2017 at 11:47AM

Lack Of State Budget, Funding Lead To Cuts At Triton

Governor candidate: Progressive tax structure possible fix to Illinois debt

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CHARLESTON — Ameya Pawar told area Democrats at Eastern Illinois University over the weekend that he is applying his view of wealth in politics and in Illinois government to campaign for the Democratic ticket for governor.

“Where we are today is we think that wealth is the only pre-qualifier to run for public office,” said Pawar, Chicago 47th Ward alderman. “What ends up happening when you do that is that people sometimes bring a myopic view to government.”

Pawar said he hopes he can prove that money does not nab the election for governor in 2018 as he did in his campaign for alderman. In 2011, Pawar edged out the competition in the election to become alderman of Chicago’s 47th Ward. By 2015, he was re-elected with 82 percent of the vote, the largest margin in the city.

Pawar has less than $60,000 in his campaign fund.

Pawar said he would apply this understanding of wealth to Illinois policy as well. The Chicago candidate advocates for a millionaire surcharge and a progressive tax structure as opposed to the flat tax in the state now.

“We need to have a progressive income tax,” he said. “That means that, like at the federal level, the more you make, the more you pay.”

Illinois needs to catch up to other states in the country and switch to a progressive income tax, he said. Pawar acknowledged that progressive tax structures have been talked about in less gridlocked times in state government, however, he sees it as a possibility.

Pawar said this would move Illinois forward to pave a way to dwindle the state debt accumulated over years and pave a way for four platforms he is running on: bettering the state’s education funding formula, opening up child care for all families, building jobs through infrastructure spending, and criminal justice reform.

“If you invest money through creating jobs through infrastructure, you are also putting money into the pockets of workers,” Pawar said of infrastructure spending. “They pay income taxes. They pay sales taxes. They are going to spend money locally.”

Pawar applied this logic to more spending in areas like education and child care.

“If you put more money in the pockets of people when they refinance their student loans, if you put more money in the pockets of people with a child care subsidy, that is money that they are going to go out and spend on a home,” Pawar said.

On crime reform, Pawar said criminal justice funding should be used to keep people in their community. He advocates redistribution of resources from prisons to diversion, job placement programs and mental health services.

Speaking on current Gov. Bruce Rauner’s turnaround agenda points, Pawar said he only sees term limits as something he could get behind but only in the executive position; however, he does not think they are a fix for Illinois issues.







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February 26, 2017 at 10:22AM

Governor candidate: Progressive tax structure possible fix to Illinois debt