State falls through on promised money; IVCC looks to make cuts

Lindsey Bennett, IV Leader Opinion Editor

IVCC still has not received its allotted budget from the state for this year, though a spending plan will be put into place for fiscal year 2018 by July.

Upcoming State of the State and budget addresses may both give residents of Illinois an idea of how the next year will be for colleges and universities.

IVCC president Jerry Corcoran explains that the operating funds for IVCC should come through three main sources: property taxes, tuition, and the state, with each giving one-third of the budget needed to keep the community college running. However, the state has not been coming up with the budget promised to the schools.

“The brutal facts are we have elected people to key positions who have not been able to work together and get the job done on our behalf,” Corcoran states.

“Last fiscal year we based our budget on the assumption that we would only receive 11.5 percent of our operating revenue from the state.” At the end of the year, the school had received less than a third of what the budget was based on.”
For the current fiscal year, IVCC has lowered the projection to 8.5 percent funding from the state and has only received half of the amount.

Vice President for Business and Finance Cheryl Roelfsema says the main cuts being made right now are purchases. A three-year finance plan will be put into place in July when the new fiscal year starts.

The expectancy is the funding will be equal or less than the 2017 fiscal year: approximately $1.2 million.
“The state is in poor financial condition,” Roelfsema states. “There’s no money to go around.” For how the lack of funding will impact students, Roelfsema says currently it is “too early to know how this will play out.”

Corcoran commented on the fact that the college had kept up the MAP funding for two years without much help from the state.
“We don’t want our students to be worrying about the state’s inability to craft a budget as a factor when one is deciding if they are going to go to college or not.” Dr. Corcoran explains. “We stand behind our students, even when our state will not.”

If the state cannot decide on a budget, schools will eventually become unable to run without funds from elsewhere. Corcoran says students coming from high school are likely to begin looking elsewhere for colleges if Illinois cannot fund its own schools.
Roelfsema explained that the senate is working on introducing new budget bills but, again, it is too early to tell what will happen from here.

Both Corcoran and Roelfsema strongly suggest students get involved. “We need a total realignment of our priorities,” Corcoran states. “My suggestion for what students could do given the situation include making sure that everyone is registered to vote; tell our local legislators we need funding now for operations and we plan to hold them accountable for their results.”