UI trustee nominee often gives to GOP candidates

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New UI trustee King.jpg

Photo by: Della Perrone/For The News-Gazette

Dr. Stuart King, a Christie Clinic physician and Champaign resident with three degrees from the University of Illinois, was named Friday, July 21, 2017, to fill one of two vacancies on the UI Board of Trustees.

CHAMPAIGN — Dr. Stuart King, Gov. Bruce Rauner’s latest nominee to the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, is a generous donor to mostly Republican candidates, including the governor.

Campaign disclosure records show that King has donated $6,000 to the Citizens for Rauner campaign account, the most recent being a $1,000 contribution in March.

King has given more than $22,000 to Illinois-based campaign accounts for Republicans, including Sens. Chapin Rose of Mahomet, Bill Brady and Jason Barickman of Bloomington; former county board member Jeff Kibler; state Rep.Tim Butler, R-Springfield; past Illinois House candidate Kristin Williamson; Champaign Mayor Deb Feinen when she was running for the House in 2011; Champaign County Circuit Clerk Katie Blakeman; Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten; and local Republican Party groups.

King, a Christie Clinic physician, also gave $500 to Don Gerard, the one-time mayor of Champaign, a nonpartisan position. But Gerard is a Democrat.

Nationally, King has given to U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville; former U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana; the Republican National Committee; the Republican Party of Illinois; presidential candidates John McCain and Mitt Romney; and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

It is not unusual for governors to appoint UI trustees who have donated to their campaigns.

Another Rauner appointee, Ramon Cepeda of Darien, gave $250 to the governor’s campaign.

Christopher Kennedy, now a Democratic candidate for governor, but a 2009 appointee of former Gov. Pat Quinn, gave more than $10,000 to Quinn’s campaign.

David Dorris of Bloomington, appointed to the UI board by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, gave $128,500 to Friends of Blagojevich.

Niranjan Shah, another Blagojevich appointee, gave a $240 in-kind contribution to the Blagojevich campaign.

Robert Vickrey of Peru, appointed to the UI board by former Gov. George Ryan, gave the Ryan campaign $250. Kenneth Schmidt, another Ryan appointee, gave Citizens for George Ryan $2,000.

Marjorie Sodemann, a longtime Ryan employee and political ally, gave more than $20,000 to various Ryan campaigns, all of it before she was appointed to the UI board in 2001.

Dave Downey of Champaign, who was appointed to the UI board in 1991 by former Gov. Jim Edgar, gave a $1,000 contribution to the Edgar campaign in 1994.

UI trustee nominee often gives to GOP candidates

SIU Alumni React to Budget Cuts

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CARBONDALE — Comptroller Susana Mendoza promised the release of $695 million to Illinois higher education, but even though more state money could be on the way, it hasn’t stopped the fear of uncertainty that alumni said is dangerous to the future of higher education.

Thursday, Mendoza released $527 million to higher education. The same day, with the fear of shaky funding, the SIU Board of Trustees voted to permanently cut $19 million from university’s budget.

It’s something that has alumnus Jeffrey Lewis sad to see.

“Schools like Southern Illinois University are developing future leaders, and if you’re cutting back significant amounts of money like that out of this budget, you’re really really hurting the future,” Lewis said.

Lewis graduated from SIU in 1978 in the Political Science program, a program that may see the loss of its master program in the near future. He said cutting back is driving students away to the competition.

“To not invest in those universities, first of all, it’s going to cause your top talent to go out of state,” he said.

Other alums like Rapheal Hayden said what worries them most about the cuts are the futures of the students.

“Honestly, it makes me wonder what’s going to happen with the students,” said the 2013 alum. “If anything, SIU Carbondale needed more upgrades in a lot of different areas.”

They worry the university will be left behind as part of the budget crisis.

“For us to be a lagger in public education is just stupid,” Lewis said. “It’s not only just short sighted: it just doesn’t make any sense.”

Both men said investing in the university is vital to its future as a major institution.

SIU Alumni React to Budget Cuts

Opinion | Voice of The Southern: A clearer picture for SIUC

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We’ve all had the experience.

We’re standing on the shore of a lake or river and a boat passes by in the distance. It takes a while for the wake to reach the shore, but the effects of the disturbance inevitably appear. And, the waves continue lapping at the shore long after the boat has passed.

The State of Illinois went without a budget for two years. While the state did its best to minimize the effects, it was just a matter of time before citizens and institutions felt the wash. There were ripples throughout the past two years, cuts in services and some reduction in staff, but the first waves hit the beach this week.

The Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees meeting this week created some waves of its own, announcing cuts and consolidations in programs.

A case could be made that in light of the ongoing budget crisis, the cuts were overdue. Conversely, waiting until the state passed a budget put the university’s predicament into sharper focus, allowing a more surgical approach to cutbacks.

The Board of Trustees suggested the elimination of seven degree programs — bachelor’s degrees in mining engineering, business economics, physical education teacher education and Africana studies. Master’s programs in mining engineering and political science were also tagged for elimination as well as the doctorate program in historical studies.

First, it’s a shame that any academic programs have to be scuttled. College students are best served when the school of their choice provides the greatest diversity in programs and enrollment. If these programs are ultimately dropped, it will diminish the university.

On the other hand, there is the economic reality of 2017 and two years without a state budget.

The programs slated for elimination have historically not attracted a lot of students. In robust economic times, these programs could be considered a luxury. Given the reality of today — SIU will be receiving $91.4 million in state appropriations for FY 2018, down 10 percent from $101.6 million in FY 2015, the last year the state had a budget.

Clearly, reality dictates minimal luxuries.

Several other cost cutting moves were also announced. SIU will combine several programs into a new College of Media, Design and Fine and Performing Arts. Other areas of study will be rolled into the colleges of Agricultural Sciences and Engineering.

The consolidation will make the university a bit leaner and result in administrative savings. As SIU Carbondale’s enrollment continues to drop, changes along these lines were just a matter of time. The financial crunch pushed them to the front burner.

Finally, plans to raze University Towers and begin construction of new student housing were put on hold. The plans for new student housing have been on the books for several years. Eventually, as the towers age, the plan will have to be implemented. But that is the cost of, in this instance, the state not doing business.

The cuts outlined by the Board of Trustees aren’t draconian. To those of us outside the board room, they seem reasonable, although not particularly appealing.

“No one cheers a 10 percent cut, but … we know where we are,” said SIU president Randy Dunn. “It unfreezes things. It’s something we can work with. It’s sustainable. It’s predictable. We can do planning and implementation from that and we’re appreciative of having it.”

As noted earlier, this is the first wave.

The deteriorating financial condition of the state has changed variables for students selecting a university. More cuts are likely to occur before the state turns around. But, as Dunn said, the university now has a clearer picture of at least the immediate future.

Opinion | Voice of The Southern: A clearer picture for SIUC

SIU’s School of Medicine after effect from the lack of a budget

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by Em Nguyen, Fox Illinois

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Universities across the state are looking at a 10 percent funding reduction. (WRSP)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WRSP) — 

A budget is in place but that doesn’t mean universities aren’t feeling the aftermath of the two-year stalemate.

The Springfield’s Southern Illinois University School of Medicine’s biggest hurdle is how resurrecting their oncology-hematology fellowship. SUI was ready to launch the program right before the budget impasse in 2015.

This would give students a hands-on program for the medical field as well as keep students working towards something greater.

Now SIU says the oncology program won’t be able to come back until summer of 2019.

They still need money, approvals, and ‘fellow’ recruitment.

“So I think that adds a whole new level of uncertainty for the schools,” Dr. Aziz Khan Executive Director of the SIU Cancer Institute, “And for the University, I think that is terrible, it’s just scary.”

The fellowship will cost about $450,000 a year.

SIU said they fear universities hurting from the last two years, will continue to see: lost support, fewer professors, and lower enrollment.

Universities across the state are looking at a 10 percent funding reduction.

SIU said this can hurt the way the world looks at Illinois colleges.

SIU’s School of Medicine after effect from the lack of a budget

Illinois’ Public University Problem: NEIU, GSU Presidents Weigh In

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Illinois legislators have finally passed a budget, but the two-year-plus impasse did not leave the state’s public universities unscathed: faculty and staff were laid off, student enrollment dwindled and bond ratings were downgraded.

In March, Northeastern Illinois University announced it would lay off 180 full-time employees to balance out a deficit deepening from lack of state funding during the budget standoff.

In a statement released on July 6, the day Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget package vetoes were overridden by House lawmakers, NEIU’s interim President Richard Helldobler wrote the university “can finally after more than two years refocus its efforts from survival to building and enhancing an exceptional environment for its students.”

A Chicago-Sun Times article published Friday took aim at Helldobler for using university funds to pay for a trip to President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January.

Using money from the NEIU Foundation, which raises private funds for the school, Helldobler spent nearly $3,000 on a Grand Hyatt hotel room for four nights and close to $1,000 on airfare and two Inaugural Heartland Ball tickets.

Governors State University, located about 30 miles south of Chicago in Will County, will increase its tuition by 15 percent this fall to cope with little-to-no state funding.

The university’s president, Elaine Maimon, said that although the state has a budget, it doesn’t mean Governors State is out of the woods. For that reason, the tuition hike is permanent.

“We’re not going to put on rose-colored glasses,” Maimon said. “The state should be providing us more investment but it doesn’t look as if there’s a pattern for doing that, so it’s looking as if we’re going to have to be more tuition-dependent.”

Maimon pointed out that Governors State’s current full-year tuition, which is $8,160, is still among the most affordable schools in the Chicago area. Starting this fall, the full-year tuition will increase to $9,390.

Helldobler and Maimon join host Phil Ponce to share their perspectives on Illinois’ public universities.


Related stories:

ADASuit_0310_0_0.jpgIllinois Weighing Down National Higher Ed Spending Numbers

May 4: Overall state and local government support for higher education across the country fell by $130 per student in 2016, the first time that figure failed to grow in four years. And one group is pointing the finger squarely at Illinois.


PaulVallas_0328.jpgPaul Vallas and CSU Board Chairman Discuss Struggling School’s Future

March 28: Paul Vallas and Chicago State University Board Chairman Marshall Hatch discuss the ongoing search for university leadership and what lies ahead for the beleaguered school.


Universities_1102.jpgUniversity Presidents Speak Out on State Stopgap Budget

Nov. 2, 2016: The presidents of four state universities discuss the ongoing impact of Illinois’ budget crisis.


Illinois’ Public University Problem: NEIU, GSU Presidents Weigh In

Lawmakers finally pass state budget: Chancellor, students discuss effects on university

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With the state of Illinois passing its first budget since 2015, there are a lot of questions to be answered, specifically questions regarding funding for higher education.

The state went 736 days without a budget and SIUE kept open with 29 percent of the state appropriation for the ‘15-‘16 fiscal year and 53 percent of the state appropriation for ‘16-‘17 fiscal year, according to Chancellor Randy Pembrook.

“We crossed over from June 30 to July 1 and we thought that was the end of the ‘16-‘17 situation, and so when they passed the legislation, they not only acted on ‘17-‘18 funding, but they restored the entire budget for ‘16- ‘17,” Pembrook said.

Katie Stuart, state representative for the 112th district, which emcompasses SIUE, voted against the override of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of Senate Bill 9, but clarified she voted to override Rauner’s veto of Senate Bill 6, which includes the funding for higher education.

“I want to note the importance of higher education statewide and in the area. SIUE is one of the largest employers and having it in a crisis situation wasn’t helping anything,” Stuart said.

Senior accounting major Blake Bamper, of Maryville, also expressed concern about the tax icrease negatively affecting a lot of people, but said the benefits make up for the negatives.

“It’s going to be a tough one to swallow for some people. I think overall, the benefits are gonna outweigh the negatives of the tax hike. The benefits of just having budget outweigh that,” Bamper said. 

Because the bill passed, SIUE will now be able to operate within the original outlined budget, provide Monetary Award Program funding and continue to work on building projects, Pembrook said.

“The backfill for ‘16-‘17 is about 27 to 28 million, the MAP funding for ‘16-‘17 will be between 6 to 7 million dollars. The 90 percent [allocation for] ‘17- ‘18 will be about 53 million dollars and we expect MAP funding for about 7 million dollars,” Pembrook said. 

One of the immediate changes students, faculty and staff will see is the completion of construction on the Science East building, which will be done in the coming Fall.

“The reappropriation for Science East is a 26 million dollar project. They had done about 20 million, so the last, between 6 and 7 million dollars will be coming forward on that,” Pembrook said.

According to Pembrook, Alumni and Founders halls will see renovations after the Science East building is done, and they hope to have two auditoriums up and running in about a month or so. 

The expansion of Dunham Hall to include two new performance facilities, is also on the list of projects to be completed. Because of the state funding and private gifts, they can now move on to the next stage of planning for that renovation.

Senior secondary education and biology major Heather Kotlarczyk, of Hazlewood, Mo., said she can’t think of much that needs to be changed at SIUE, regarding the funding from the budget pass.

“I feel like they should talk to professors about what they want see and that would be a good idea. I like so much about this school I don’t know what I would change or want to see changed,” Kotlarczyk said.

As far as new projects go, Pembrook said there are 8 or 10 things that the he and the budget committee discussed in their meeting Thursday, July 6.

Pembrook said they talked about salaries, marketing and branding, retention initiatives, new programs that could help offer cutting edge things and an innovation fund. They also talked about the teaching excellence center in the library, new staffing and the IT department.

“This isn’t to say that we are going to be able to afford and do all of these, I want to be clear on that, but [these are] things we discussed that maybe can be part of a discussion now,” Pembrook said.

Senior computer science major John Scheibal, of Edwardsville, said he would like to see the school use its funding to bring more professional degrees to the campus.

“I think it needs to have more masters and doctorate like programs. Like if you could go to SIUE and get a degree in law it would draw in so many people. They should focus on making sure people have the opportunity to do what they want and not have to go somewhere else afterwards,” Scheibal said.

SIUE’s Edwardsville campus is not the only place to see continued improvement.

Pembrook said we should see continued improvement on the East. St. Louis and Alton campuses as well, and the progress will move faster because of the funding.

Even though there is now a budget,  Pembrook said they  don’t plan on restoring everything they cut in face of the budget crisis. 

“As the institution begins to evolve, we are trying to make sure that all of things we do have a real purpose and we are efficient in doing them,” Pembrook said.

According to Pembrook, the budget committee has agreed to meet again in about a month and should know more about of distribution of funding and the time in which it will happen.

 

© 2017 AlestleLive.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Lawmakers finally pass state budget: Chancellor, students discuss effects on university

Lawmakers finally pass state budget: Chancellor, students discuss effects on university

http://ift.tt/2sPHkq4

With the state of Illinois passing its first budget since 2015, there are a lot of questions to be answered, specifically questions regarding funding for higher education.

The state went 736 days without a budget and SIUE kept open with 29 percent of the state appropriation for the ‘15-‘16 fiscal year and 53 percent of the state appropriation for ‘16-‘17 fiscal year, according to Chancellor Randy Pembrook.

“We crossed over from June 30 to July 1 and we thought that was the end of the ‘16-‘17 situation, and so when they passed the legislation, they not only acted on ‘17-‘18 funding, but they restored the entire budget for ‘16- ‘17,” Pembrook said.

Katie Stuart, state representative for the 112th district, which emcompasses SIUE, voted against the override of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of Senate Bill 9, but clarified she voted to override Rauner’s veto of Senate Bill 6, which includes the funding for higher education.

“I want to note the importance of higher education statewide and in the area. SIUE is one of the largest employers and having it in a crisis situation wasn’t helping anything,” Stuart said.

Senior accounting major Blake Bamper, of Maryville, also expressed concern about the tax icrease negatively affecting a lot of people, but said the benefits make up for the negatives.

“It’s going to be a tough one to swallow for some people. I think overall, the benefits are gonna outweigh the negatives of the tax hike. The benefits of just having budget outweigh that,” Bamper said. 

Because the bill passed, SIUE will now be able to operate within the original outlined budget, provide Monetary Award Program funding and continue to work on building projects, Pembrook said.

“The backfill for ‘16-‘17 is about 27 to 28 million, the MAP funding for ‘16-‘17 will be between 6 to 7 million dollars. The 90 percent [allocation for] ‘17- ‘18 will be about 53 million dollars and we expect MAP funding for about 7 million dollars,” Pembrook said. 

One of the immediate changes students, faculty and staff will see is the completion of construction on the Science East building, which will be done in the coming Fall.

“The reappropriation for Science East is a 26 million dollar project. They had done about 20 million, so the last, between 6 and 7 million dollars will be coming forward on that,” Pembrook said.

According to Pembrook, Alumni and Founders halls will see renovations after the Science East building is done, and they hope to have two auditoriums up and running in about a month or so. 

The expansion of Dunham Hall to include two new performance facilities, is also on the list of projects to be completed. Because of the state funding and private gifts, they can now move on to the next stage of planning for that renovation.

Senior secondary education and biology major Heather Kotlarczyk, of Hazlewood, Mo., said she can’t think of much that needs to be changed at SIUE, regarding the funding from the budget pass.

“I feel like they should talk to professors about what they want see and that would be a good idea. I like so much about this school I don’t know what I would change or want to see changed,” Kotlarczyk said.

As far as new projects go, Pembrook said there are 8 or 10 things that the he and the budget committee discussed in their meeting Thursday, July 6.

Pembrook said they talked about salaries, marketing and branding, retention initiatives, new programs that could help offer cutting edge things and an innovation fund. They also talked about the teaching excellence center in the library, new staffing and the IT department.

“This isn’t to say that we are going to be able to afford and do all of these, I want to be clear on that, but [these are] things we discussed that maybe can be part of a discussion now,” Pembrook said.

Senior computer science major John Scheibal, of Edwardsville, said he would like to see the school use its funding to bring more professional degrees to the campus.

“I think it needs to have more masters and doctorate like programs. Like if you could go to SIUE and get a degree in law it would draw in so many people. They should focus on making sure people have the opportunity to do what they want and not have to go somewhere else afterwards,” Scheibal said.

SIUE’s Edwardsville campus is not the only place to see continued improvement.

Pembrook said we should see continued improvement on the East. St. Louis and Alton campuses as well, and the progress will move faster because of the funding.

Even though there is now a budget,  Pembrook said they  don’t plan on restoring everything they cut in face of the budget crisis. 

“As the institution begins to evolve, we are trying to make sure that all of things we do have a real purpose and we are efficient in doing them,” Pembrook said.

According to Pembrook, the budget committee has agreed to meet again in about a month and should know more about of distribution of funding and the time in which it will happen.

 

© 2017 AlestleLive.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Lawmakers finally pass state budget: Chancellor, students discuss effects on university