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June 2002 Board Meeting Report

Illinois Valley Community College has frozen hiring for five faculty positions and two administrative positions in response to state budget cuts, the IVCC Board of Trustees learned Wednesday.

Full-time faculty positions in English, psychology, health and wellness, computer information systems and nursing have been frozen, in addition to administrative positions of library director and chair of the division of social science and public service.

"These cuts could not have come at a worse time. The college has experienced an 8 percent increase in summer enrollment and projects a 15 percent increase in fall enrollments," said IVCC President Jean Goodnow. "We will try to offer the same level of courses as we have in the past; however, it is difficult to find qualified part-time faculty to fill these positions."

In addition, the number and variety of courses IVCC offers via interactive television, or videoconferencing, will be drastically reduced due to the state elimination of higher education consortia that funded training and technology and coordinated ITV courses.

IVCC is still tallying the total cost of state budget cuts made in the waning days of the legislative session, but administrators already know the effect will be significant.

"At this point, we know we will be starting fiscal year 2003 with at least $152,000 less from the state than we received during fiscal year 2002. When you couple that with the fact the increase in state revenue from fiscal 2001 to fiscal 2002 was $171,000, we in effect are losing $323,000. Add in an estimated $100,000 reduction in funds from the corporate personal property replacement tax, an expected $500,000 loss in investment income and the uncertain economy, you realize that we must proceed very cautiously with our finances," Frank Papke, IVCC vice president of business and finance, told the board during its monthly meeting.

The state cuts have made IVCC’s finances even more precarious than they were last year when it was announced that IVCC would place a tax referendum on the Nov. 5 election ballot. In addition to the state cuts, IVCC’s financial picture is made more grim by the estimated $750,000 loss in income from the ComEd reassessment in 2005 and the estimated four-year loss of $925,000 in income from farmland assessments.

The November referendum will ask voters for a 12½ -cent increase in the education fund, a 2½-cent increase in the operations and maintenance fund and authority to sell $16 million in bonds. IVCC serves 15,000 district residents every year.

"The moves by the Governor and state legislature reinforce our conviction that we cannot rely on state funding as a predictable revenue source," said Goodnow. "The state budget cuts into the heart of education, making double-digit tuition increases necessary at most of our four-year state colleges. This may mean more students will opt for our community college as a more affordable means of receiving their education; however, the state budget also is taking its toll on community colleges."

The IVCC Board took action at its April meeting to increase tuition for Fall 2002 from $50 to $53 to help offset state funding cuts.

Included in the state cuts for IVCC is $76,000 in special populations funding, including 50 percent of the salary of a developmental education instructor, the peer tutor coordinator, student helpers in the math lab, supplies and instructional materials and technology expenses and GED testing. At IVCC, 75 to 80 percent of students take at least one educational development class.

Other cuts to community colleges from the state budget included a 1 percent cut in credit hour grants and a 1 percent reduction in equalization grants. Special initiative grants and a Leadership and Core Values grant also were eliminated.

In addition to the freeze on hiring, significant reductions also have been made in equipment, travel and conference expenditures.

"We will present and maintain a balanced budget, but that will mean sacrifices and the loss of some personnel in our community college," said Goodnow.

The biggest personnel hit for IVCC came with the closing of the Sheridan Correctional Center. Seven staff members had been serving more than 300 students who took nearly 5,000 credit hours of classes each year. IVCC lost the nearly $500,000 contract it had with the Department of Corrections to fund the vocational and educational program at Sheridan when the state announced plans to close the prison.

IVCC students also will be impacted by a $38.3 million loss for the state Monetary Award Program grant. Full-time IVCC students could lose as much as $240 per year in MAP awards under one of the plans being proposed by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, said Financial Aid Director Steve Crick. IVCC awarded $620,373 in MAP Awards to 593 students in 2001-02. The average award was $1,046.

 

In other business, the board:

  • Approved the appointment of Jean Batson-Turner as human services instructor. Batson-Turner’s salary will be paid through federal Title III grant funds.
  • Accepted bids of $150,865 and $40,272 from Fox River Lumber for an air moisture infiltration life safety project and aluminum storefront entrance.
  • Submitted updated applications to the state Capital Development Board for the proposed Community Instructional Center and Building C renovation. The proposals, adjusted for inflation, must be submitted each year and are placed on a state waiting list with other capital projects awaiting funding.
  • Approved the prevailing wage resolution.
  • Approved a personnel policy dealing with medical leave and termination of employment due to incapacity.
  • Learned Monica Near has been hired as a case manager in the Dislocated Workers Center.
  • Learned M & D Printing of Henry submitted the low bid of $16,931 for printing of the 2002 fall class schedule.