Community College Council urges Rauner, leaders to reach budget agreement

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Council of Community College Presidents sent a letter to Governor Bruce Rauner and the four legislative leaders, reminding them of the damage that has been and continues to be inflicted on the students and communities that rely on the State’s Community College system.

The letter refers to Illinois’ lack of a budget over the last two fiscal years noting it has caused hundreds of layoffs of staff and faculty, closure of programs, and divestment of services that the community college system slowly, and methodically built over the last half century.

It asserts that the ultimate victims of the budget impasse are the students, the families, and the communities that are no longer served as they should be and as they once were.

The letter says the damage is both real and measureable, and warns that Illinois community colleges are at a tipping point.

It says if the impasse continues, the consequence will be profound and lasting, as payrolls will not be met, programs will be closed, and staff and faculty will be reduced to mere shells.

The presidents were clear in their letter to Rauner and the four leaders that they are far beyond the point of reducing administrative costs, and suspending travel.

They stated that without a reliable and consistent budgeting process, Colleges will close and students will be turned away. Dismissing Rauner’s Turnaround agenda, they pointedly noted they can’t use regulatory relief nor the repeal of unfunded mandates to pay their employees.

They urged cooperation and resolution to the matter as soon as possible.