Heartland OKs tentative budget; expects state funding

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NORMAL — The Heartland Community College board approved a tentative fiscal 2018 budget Tuesday with total operating revenues of $34.7 million that assumes the district will receive $2.35 million from the state — about 90 percent of what it received in fiscal 2015, the last time Illinois had a full-year budget. 

The tentative operating budget calls for $34 million in expenditures.

Final approval of the budget will take place at the board’s Sept. 19 meeting, which will be preceded by a public hearing at 6 p.m. in Room 2012 of the Community Commons Building on the campus at 1500 W. Raab Road, Normal.

By then, college officials will know what fall enrollment figures are and — they hope — how much money they will receive from the state, so they can adjust the final budget.

Widmer said that in that event, the college would “continue to tighten our budget” and figure out “how do we continue to offer a quality education for our students.”

During the meeting, Doug Minter, vice president of business services, said the lack of a state budget “casts ongoing shadows of uncertainty.” The district received only $700,000 in state appropriations in fiscal 2016 and about $1 million in the current fiscal year.

Heartland also still hopes to receive $300,000 in state funding for Monetary Award Program grants to students in the recently completed school year. The college credited the accounts of students who had been notified by the state that they qualified for the MAP financial aid grants.

The board also approved a capital request to the state to replace pavement along certain campus roads and parking lots which are showing premature deterioration.

The college has made the same request for at least five years, but funding has not come through.

“If hell freezes over and this actually occurs, the state would give us $403,000” — 75 percent of the cost of the $537,500 project, said Minter. Heartland would pay the other 25 percent.

The request next goes to the Illinois Community College Board, then the Illinois Board of Higher Education for consideration in the state’s fiscal 2019 capital budget.

In another matter, the board learned that the number of overall credit hours taken by students is down about 5 percent this summer compared to last summer, a decline of 573 credit hours from last year’s 10,892. However, Widmer said there are “so many variables in the summer” that the enrollment drop is not an indication of what could happen in fall semester.

Follow Lenore Sobota on Twitter: @pg_sobota

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June 21, 2017 at 10:29AM

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Heartland OKs tentative budget; expects state funding

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