With state budget in place, Michael ready for future of EIU athletics

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CHARLESTON (WCIA) — Eastern Illinois University was one of the hardest hit by the state’s 700-plus day budget impasse. Several cuts had to me made, including in the athletic department. Now with a budget in place, Eastern athletic director Tom Michael has a brighter outlook on the days ahead.

EIU athletic director Tom Michael can look at the future of Panther athletics with a sharper focus nowadays.

“There’s a level of relief to say that they’ve gotten that piece of it figured out for all of higher education in the state of Illinois but specifically here at EIU,” Michael said. “The important piece there is now we have an opportunity to plan.”

And that’s something Michael has had to do a lot of the last few years. When he was hired back in 2014, Eastern’s athletic department was nearly a million bucks in the red. He balanced the budget in 2016, making up 986-thousand dollars. This year the Panthers will almost break even.

“We’re going to come awfully close to balancing it. It’s something that we’re awfully proud of with the financial circumstances that have been around the state of Illinois and around our institution,” Michael explained. “To be able to fiscally responsible as a department and a unit during these tough times is a credit to our staff and our coaches.”

Unlike Illinois and other Power 5 conference schools that receive big pay days from TV revenue to help them remain independent, Eastern’s athletic budget relies on the state to help make ends meet.  This year about 10 percent of EIU’s 11 million dollar budget will come from state appropriations.  Compare that to the U of I which will receive more than 40 million dollars from the Big Ten alone.

“The institution funds us at a pretty significant number which we certainly could not make it happen without that support,” he added.

And with a budget in place, Michael can focus on supporting his coaches and players this season, instead of worrying about what’s happening in Springfield.

With state budget in place, Michael ready for future of EIU athletics

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

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.


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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

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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

Our view: Don’t minimize damage done to state already

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While lawmakers are patting themselves on the back for finally passing a state budget, social service and education leaders are saying “thank you” through gritted teeth.

There are no congratulations for lawmakers who made few if any decisions on property taxes, pensions, workers’ comp and the business climate in general. The new budget is a triple whammy: cut social service and other funding, don’t address the core issues, and give all of its taxpayers a pay cut.

Yet, after two years without a budget, those who depend on state money have cut programs, cut staff, cut recipients. Even with the new budget, many will receive less money than in the past and others may find that it’s too little, too late.

Illinois State University, for instance, is working on a way to continue its mission with $7.2 million less than it received in 2015. Less state money and fewer students — many of whom are attending classes in another state — means trying to provide a great education with far fewer dollars.

Long term, students who attend college out of state often opt to stay outside of Illinois when they begin their careers and families. Why move back to a place whose leaders can’t come to an agreement on a budget, who undervalue social service and education funding, and whose lackadaisical attitude turns off the possibility of new business? Even worse, whose actions dissuade current businesses from expanding or staying in Illinois?

“It will take years of hard work to reverse the damage that has been done,” Illinois State University President Larry Dietz said in a letter to faculty and staff. University of Illinois President Tim Killeen, in a letter to faculty, staff and students, said, “I hope the lessons learned during this long and difficult impasses will help to restore long-term stability.”

Secondary education has its own issues because money in the new budget won’t be released immediately thanks to new rules that aren’t yet in place.

“Until the evidence-based funding model becomes law, that money will not be released,” said District 87 Superintendent Barry Reilly.

Hardest hit, however, will be the state’s social service agencies that help the poor, the elderly, those in need of medical, dental and mental health care, the homeless, the under-educated and the unemployed and underemployed.

Many such agencies, whose budgets rely on a higher percentage of state funding, already have cut staff, programs and the number of people they can serve. United Way of Illinois estimated that nearly 30 percent of the state’s social service agencies could close by the end of the year.

The lack of a budget, and subsequent agency and school cuts, had immediate repercussions, but more importantly, will have long-term ramifications for individuals, counties and the state.

People who have left the state for school or work won’t come back; neither will businesses that have moved. Businesses that considered, but turned away, from Illinois won’t give us a second look. People looking for work may consider a job in Chicago, but the rest of the state’s employment rolls likely will remain stagnant. That will affect sales and property taxes as well as retail sales.

Are we glad that Illinois finally has a budget? Yes. Do we think lawmakers truly understand the pain they’ve caused and will cause Illinois?

Our view: Don’t minimize damage done to state already