by Tina Johansson
College of Lake County announced it will be eliminating 20 full time positions, although 15 are currently “vacant.”
CLC officials said they are restructuring due to financial uncertainty surrounding state funding.
Higher education institutes in Illinois have struggled to maintain programs and services because of the state funding crisis. According to reports, they have not received state funding since last July.
“The legislators and governor must find a solution to the current budget crisis and must begin negotiating next year’s budget,” urged Dr. William M. Griffin, chair of the CLC board of trustees.
Because of the lack of $8 million in state funding, CLC has resorted to using reserve funds, including $800,000 to cover the state’s Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants for 818 students this academic year.
“Even if we had received our usual state funding, we would still face challenges in building the budget because of the lack of growth in our major revenue sources,” said Jerry Weber, CLC president. “After looking at a variety of ways to reduce expenses, the college reached the difficult decision to restructure specific departments and positions.”
Weber said with the funds saved from the restructuring, CLC intends to bring a balanced budget to the board for approval in late spring.
However, Dr. Weber noted, “if this budget impasse continues and no state funding is forthcoming, we may need to look at laying off a large number of employees, maybe 40 or more, and halting some programs and services.”
In related fiscal news, Moody’s Investor’s Service included CLC in a list of 19 Illinois community colleges on review for possible downgrade. Since 2012, CLC has earned Moody’s Aaa rating for its general obligation bonds that are being used to help fund current construction projects.
According to a recent news release from Moody’s, the review was prompted by the continued budget stalemate with the state, and its effects on community college districts revenues. The state continues to operate without an adopted fiscal 2016 budget. Moody’s expects to make a decision within 60 days.