Seven community colleges to receive emergency funding
The Illinois Community College Board, ICCB, on Jan. 6 reported that seven community college districts will receive emergency funding.
The community colleges which are slated to receive the emergency funding include Illinois Eastern Community Colleges, Kaskaskia College, Lake Land College, John A. Logan College, Rend Lake College, Shawnee Community College and Southeastern Community College.
A total of $3 million will be distributed equally among the seven districts, with each district set to receive $428,571.42 in financial support for essential operations, the ICCB reported in a news release.
The districts were selected based on criteria established by the board during a special meeting on Dec. 7, 2016.
The criteria were formulated on the assumption that districts with the least amount of local property tax funding will have the hardest time operating without state funding.
Colleges meeting the criteria were also required to demonstrate evidence of measures taken to reduce expenditures that required a reduction in staff and programs.
Dr. Lazaro Lopez, the chairperson of the ICCB, said that the emergency funds are being allocated to “ensure those community colleges with the fewest financial resources can continue to operate while we wait for the Illinois General Assembly to pass a full, comprehensive balanced budget.”
Lopez noted that despite the action, “community colleges across the state will continue to struggle without the adequate resources and predictability that comes with a full-year state budget and structural changes to fix the overall system.”
The ICCB noted in the news release that while the announcement of the emergency funding was welcome news for the state’s most vulnerable community college districts, there remains a great need system-wide.
In September 2016, the ICCB passed a resolution declaring a state of emergency for the entire community college system due to the drastic loss of state revenue over the last two years.
ICCB is the state coordinating board for community colleges. Illinois is home to 48 community colleges in 39 districts and has the third largest community college system in the nation, serving nearly 850,000 residents each year in credit and non-credit courses.