IVCC students become lobbyists in Springfield


Submitted photo

SGA Advisor Cory Tomasson(from left), Sara Lipton, Lexi Scapaci, Katie Destri, Kaitlin Raneiri, Vanessa Olivares, Ellen Herrmann, Sen, Sue Rezin, Sarah Mckeen, Cody O’Brien, Elizabeth Gonzalez, Becca Herrmann visit in the Illinois Senate chamber.

Becca Herrmann, IV Leader Staff Writer

On April 20, the student government Association and a few members of the College Democrats made a trip down to Springfield for the 2016 Student Advocacy Day. The Illinois Community College Board hosts the event as a way for students to lobby to their legislators about certain issues affecting community colleges.

As most could probably guess, this year’s theme was the stalemate on the state budget. How it has affected funding for all institutes of higher education and specifically how IVCC is affected.

The meeting with our legislators, Senator Sue Rezin and Representative Andy Skoog, we learned more about the budget and how they planned to resolve the budget issue among other things.

We sat in the same seats as lawmakers, as Senator Rezin spoke to us from the senate floor; on the importance of finding a long term solution to the budget issue. Rezin explained imposing higher taxes to create more money to spend right now would make things worse in the future.

Compromise, Rezin explained, would be the solution. The republican Senator stressed that her and “her friends across the aisle” must come to an agreement about what to cut; in order to get enough money for spending on things like higher education funding. However, she said that once they agree on a budget it will be passed in 3 to 4 days. Rezin seemed dedicated to the topic of higher education as she has two other community colleges in her district, Joliet Community College and Waubonsee Community College.

At our second meeting of the day we met with Representative Andy Skoog, the newest member of the Illinois House of Representatives. Taking over for Representative Frank Mautino when he was appointed to Auditor General.
Skoog seemed very comfortable in his new position and was very knowledgeable about all the subjects we brought to the table.
Skoog stressed the importance of the MAP grants, for which we have picked up the tab while the state budget is still in a stalemate.

IVCC has paid $492,258 so that 477 students who qualified for the MAP Grant still had the chance to go to school Skoog recognized this as the most important topic and he was optimistic that the budget issue would be settled soon.
Overall, the trip went very well. We learned that our concerns were also the concerns of those in Springfield and we hope that they will solve the budget problem soon. Then, the places of higher education in Illinois get the funds they need, including us at IVCC.