The budget approved by Illinois lawmakers provides Western Illinois University with funding for last fiscal year and the current fiscal year. Now university leaders will decide how to proceed.
“My leadership team and I will be meeting to look at the funds that we do have. And then we will be coming up with a solution on how we will move forward,” said WIU President Jack Thomas during an interview with Tri States Public Radio.
- TSPR: Are employees still going to be furloughed during this fiscal year?
- Thomas: Right now, employees are. But as I said, we are going to review our funding ... We’re going to be discussing those kinds of issues and then coming back to the table and then we will let the university community know whether we will have furloughs or not.
- TSPR: Same thing with Unit B (non-tenure track faculty)? Those people are sort of on hold right now. How soon do you think you can let them know whether they will have a job?
- Thomas: As I stated, we’re going to review. And in theory, they’ve (legislators) allocated but we have not received anything so we have to wait and then review and then we will come back to the university community and let them know.
- TSPR: Are you going to be reviewing whether you can bring some things back where you had to make cuts the past couple years?
- Thomas: Everything that we have done in the past, we will review. And we will come back to the university community to let them know.
President Thomas said WIU did what needed to be done during the budget impasse to meet payroll and provide a quality and well-rounded education.
“Over the years, we’ve made the necessary cuts that we’ve had to make in terms of layoffs. We’ve had furloughs, we’ve had salary reductions. We combined departments, we reduced departments,” said Thomas, adding the cuts forced by the budget impasse caused damage that can’t be repaired overnight and the budget stalemate created a crisis of confidence in the state’s public higher education system.
Thomas said WIU faculty, staff, students, his leadership team, the Board of Trustees, and the university community all came together as a family to help Western get through the state’s budget crisis.
“It’s been tough. We know that people have been disgruntled -- and rightfully so, we understand that. But (the state budget) is good news for all of us and we look forward to great things happening in the future here at Western Illinois University.”
Thomas hopes the state will come up with funding to address deferred maintenance and pay for construction of a performing arts center on the Macomb campus.
State Funding Breakdown for WIU
Matt Bierman, WIU Vice President for Administrative Services, provided the following information about state allocated operating funds for Western:
- $51.4 million FY15
- $14.9 million FY16
- $31.4 (stop gap budget) + $8.4 (IBHE distribution) = $38.9 million FY17 as of June 30, 2017.
- $20.1 million more bringing our FY17 total to $59.8 million
- $10.9 million FY17 Full MAP
- $46.3 million in FY18 (this is a 10% reduction from FY15 levels)
- $10.4 million FY18 Full MAP (estimated)