State universities are facing another round of layoffs as they brace for another year without appropriations. Administrators fear the impact of the cuts will have compounding effects that could last for years and may prove extremely difficult to reverse.
The Governor and legislators ended regular session on Wednesday without having reached a budget consensus. Despite acquiescing and passing a number of Governor Rauner’s priorities, the Governor continued to promise to veto any legislation passed by the General Assembly.
The same day, Southern Illinois University announced another round of job cuts, with dozens more looming should nothing get done in Springfield.
Southern Interim Chancellor Brad Colwell sent a memo to the university community announcing the nearly 80 layoffs in the next few weeks.
“We built much of our permanent reduction on vacant positions in order to avoid layoffs, but unfortunately, layoffs and the non-renewal of some contracts are unavoidable,” Colwell wrote.
“Overall, we will be a different university with the loss of these colleagues and positions,” Colwell continued.
Smaller, regional universities who have historically served as more affordable options are particularly hard hit by the budget impasse.
Southern Illinois University wasn’t the only school to announce cuts this week. Earlier this week, Interim President Richard Helldobler announced in an email to Northeastern Illinois University faculty and staff the university is being forced to implement 180 layoffs as the result of the inability of Governor Bruce Rauner to pass a budget.
Earlier this year, the school was forced to shut down for a week
Northern Illinois University also announced in May that it will layoff 30 employees, with another 120 staff position reductions as part of an effort to close their $35 million budget gap.
“We are hopeful that a resolution in Springfield will come, and we will be spared the need for further actions,” Northern Illinois University President Doug Baker said.
“However, because of the severity of our current circumstances, and the uncertainty of our fiscal future, it is unlikely that any last-minute legislative action will mitigate the need for the changes outlined here.”
President David Glassman previously testified Eastern Illinois laid off nearly 200 employees, while Western Illinois President Jack Thomas has said it has laid off and furloughed hundreds of workers.
Universities across the state have not been receiving payments for Monetary Award Program (or MAP) grants for FY ‘17 and there is no appropriation for the students in Illinois who demonstrate financial need in FY ‘18.