Western Courier

Approved spending plan appropriates $87.4 million to Western



Nicholas Ebelhack, Editor-in-Chief

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After 736 days, the state of Illinois has ended its long-standing budget impasse, leaving Western Illinois University with funding for the upcoming year and additional funds to cover the cost of the Monetary Awards Program (MAP).

The spending plan allocates $46.3 million to Western for the current fiscal year in addition to $20.1 million for FY 17. Approximately $21 million is also allocated to Western for the reimbursement of MAP grant funding, which the university has covered over the course of the impasse.

The vetoed spending plan, in addition to an income tax increase that was described by Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday as a “two-by-four smacked across the forehead,” was overridden by the Illinois House of Representatives Thursday afternoon.

In a press release from University Relations, President Jack Thomas expressed relief in response to the spending plan.

“The long overdue spending bill that was passed will provide predictable operating dollars for Western Illinois University and public higher education,” Thomas said. “This will allow our University to continue to advance its longstanding mission of providing a quality, well-rounded, and comprehensive educational experience to a diverse student body.”

Thomas further stated in the press release that even though funds have been appropriated for Western for the first time in over two years that the university plans to continue conservative financial practices in the wake of the impasse.

“Unfortunately, to sustain operations, we have been forced to implement reductions in the form of furloughs, pay reductions, layoffs, hiring freezes, spending limits, and other cost-saving strategies,” Thomas said. “These measures have allowed us to continue to focus on our mission, which is to serve our students. My leadership team will continue to evaluate how recent state appropriations will impact the University’s overall budget.”

According to Thomas, the persistence of the campus community has reached a pay off, and the promise that “Western Illinois University has been open for 117 years and will continue to be open for 117 more,” will continue to persist as well.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Approved spending plan appropriates $87.4 million to Western