At the regularly scheduled Kishwaukee College Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, February 9, Trustees considered a draft plan to reduce the College’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 budget in light of the Illinois budget impasse and declining enrollments.
The plan includes $3.8 million in cuts and additional revenue strategies to balance the FY17 $19.4 million operating budget, which begins July 1. The plan is made up of $500,000 in general cost reductions, $2.1 million in salary and benefit reductions, and $1.2 million in additional revenue strategies. Dr. Laurie Borowicz, Kishwaukee College President, explained, “While the plan includes scaling back on some services, none are eliminated, including academic programs.”
The FY17 plan includes reducing travel, restructuring of departments, and renegotiating external contracts. Reductions to workforce will affect roughly 49 positions, or 17% of workforce (excluding grant funded positions and adjuncts), through a combination of layoffs (31 positions) and not filling vacant positions (18 positions). Additional revenue strategies being considered include a tuition increase, variable tuition for high cost programs, application fee for out-of-district residents, and additional course fees to cover program instruction costs.
The College planned to receive just under $5 million of state aid for FY16, which ends June 30. Due to solid fiscal management and budget tightening, the College will complete FY16 without layoffs.
“While this is a challenging time in the College’s history, we maintain our commitment to being good fiscal stewards to the taxpayers and our students,” said Borowicz. “We will continue to provide the quality academic programs and services the community has come to expect, and deserve, from us.”
The College is working closely with the various unions on campus that represent the faculty and support staff. “While this is a difficult and sensitive time for the employees at Kishwaukee College, our students and the community can still depend on us to provide a world-class education,” stated Matt Read, Mathematics Faculty and Kishwaukee College Education Association President. Dave Bresson, Database Administrator and Kishwaukee College Support Staff President, echoed Read’s sentiments, “These are extremely difficult decisions we have to make. But at the same time, these decisions are ones that have to be made. We must do everything we can to continue to help our students succeed, whether we receive our state funding or not.”
Borowicz explained higher education institutions across the state are feeling the impact of the Illinois budget impasse. “Kishwaukee College is not alone. Our colleagues from across the state are having to make similar tough decisions.”
The Board of Trustees will take action on cost reductions and revenue enhancements at their regularly scheduled meeting on March 8. “We want to assure the district residents and our students, their trust is well placed,” said Bob Johnson, Board Chair. “We will maintain fiscal responsibility, but also do what is necessary to maintain the integrity of Kishwaukee College and continue to provide high quality academic programs and support services.”