2017 03 07 McGuire HigherEdCommitteeJournal Gazette & Times-Courier, March 9, 2017 | Original article

CHARLESTON (JG-TC) -- Eastern Illinois University's president, along with other state university presidents, indicated to the Illinois Senate Higher Education Committee on Monday that there is little more from their budgets that can be cut.

David Glassman said the other presidents and he made a clear point to the committee members that there is little or no room for cuts after being asked whether there was anywhere to trim in the university budget.

"There is much discussion in Springfield right now about budgetary cuts and possible new revenue sources," Glassman said. "A question about 'could universities cut more from their budgets?' is a legitimate question, but as indicated by all of the public university presidents, the degree of cutbacks that universities have already sustained during the past two years leaves very little else to cut."

Glassman said he believes the state Senate hearing accomplished getting their position across that dramatic and continued cuts to higher education could result in long-term damage to the entire higher education system in Illinois.  

"When you are already operating extremely efficiently, it becomes more difficult to make additional cuts," he said.

During his report, Glassman mentioned a 24 percent reduction in the EIU workforce.

State Sen. Pat McGuire, R-Crest Hill, said the other universities painted similar pictures of the situation they are in as a result of the state budget impasse, which has continued for two years, during the hearing.

Western Illinois University has had to implement faculty pay cuts; Southern Illinois University has cut 293 positions, half which are faculty; and Northern Illinois University has eliminated numerous programs and staff, McGuire said.

McGuire said he hopes the testimonies from these university presidents addressed the clear need for more stopgap funding for operations and Monetary Award Program grants.

Stopgap funding has been a tool used by state lawmakers to sustain the universities during the impasse, however, the last influx of funds were meant to get the universities through the end of December.

Money from the state has not flowed in since. McGuire said the committee testimony points out that they need this money, and they need it now.

Read the original article at the Journal Gazette & Times-Courier.

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