Western Courier

Western responds to sustained budget impasse



Nicholas Ebelhack, Editor-in-Chief

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

As Illinois enters its third consecutive year without a state budget and appropriated funds for higher education, Western Illinois University is already bracing for the impact of a continued fiscal standoff in Springfield.

In a statement from University President Jack Thomas, administrators are already planning to implement cost saving measures in regards to staffing.

“As we approach a third year without a state appropriated budget, pursuant to Article 30 of the WIU/UPI Agreement, the University is delaying contract renewal notices to non-tenure track faculty (Unit B),” Thomas said. “This notice delays a decision on staffing levels for the Fall 2017 semester. Impacted employees will receive written notification.”

The budget impasse, which has left partisan politicians on both sides of the aisle placing blame on each other in the middle of an election year, leaves the state over $14 million in debt. The Democratic Senate had approved a spending plan that didn’t pass in the House of Representatives under the assumption that Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner would veto it.

In a statement from Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza, she expresses her frustrations with the lack of a state budget, directly addressing the effects that a prolonged impasse will continue to have on state-funded education.

“The state’s now $14.5 billion backlog will continue to grow, as will the interest the state owes on its unpaid bills,” Mendoza said. “K-12 schools will continue to suffer because of delayed payments. Universities and community colleges will see more layoffs as some struggle to keep their doors open.

“Illinoisans will miss out on education and work opportunities, lives will be put at risk and, in the end, taxpayers will pay more for the fiscal lawlessness of going into a third year without a budget,” Mendoza continued.

Now that the deadline has passed, passing a budget will require more votes than if one was passed before. Whereas a simple majority was originally all that was necessary, a three-fifths supermajority must now be reached.

Thomas said in his statement that Western will continue to persist as the state budget impasse continues.

“While we face funding challenges, Western Illinois University is committed to continuing to provide a world-class education to our students,” Thomas said. “On numerous occasions, we engaged the Governor and state legislators about the need for funding. As recently as Sunday, May 28, I testified before the House Higher Education Appropriations Committee. We continue to advocate strongly for our University.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.

Navigate Right
Navigate Left
The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Western responds to sustained budget impasse