June 2, 2015 update

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President Randy Dunn sent the following message to faculty and staff:

Last week, the Illinois General Assembly passed a spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year — starting July 1— that would result in an 8.75 percent reduction in state funding for the public universities. This cut makes permanent the 2.25 percent previously taken from this fiscal year to help balance the state’s budget, and also includes an additional 6.5 percent reduction in state support.

For the campuses, the reduction from the enacted FY15 budget is as follows — these figures include funding lost at the 8.75 percent level inclusive of each campus’s share of University Wide Services, plus the amount to be taken from each campus in FY16 due to performance funding. Not included are reductions to any directed appropriations (e.g., Simmons Cancer Center, Daily Egyptian, SIUE fire protection, etc.):

SIUC :$9.156 million
SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: $3.216 million
SIUE: $5.040 million
SYSTEM : $172,000

An 8.75 percent reduction means the SIU System will have to operate in 2015-16 with roughly $17.5 million less than we started with a year ago. While this is far from the $62 million reduction proposed by the governor earlier this spring, it’s still a damaging cut that will require a serious response in the way our campuses allocate resources.

If you have followed the statewide media these past few days, you are aware that this $17.5 million cut figure is — unfortunately — not final, as the governor has explicitly indicated he will veto this budget once it is sent to him. If Gov. Rauner indeed exercises his veto/amendatory veto authority, it is uncertain at this time that a legislative override of any veto can be achieved. (And of course, a governor may also choose not to expend all of the funds that are appropriated within a given budget.)

As such, we anticipate that the legislature will continue to negotiate the FY16 state budget with the governor into the coming weeks … possibly through the entire month of June, or beyond. We must further assume this level of cut will be a minimum, and the potential of still-larger reductions remains. So we shall continue our campus-level planning for a range of possibilities and remain prepared to make some difficult decisions in the coming weeks. Please be assured that we will continue to be vocal opponents in Springfield of any further reductions to HIED, and we will be vocal proponents of measures that help bring more dollars to the SIU System and other campuses.

I am requesting that SIUE Chancellor Furst-Bowe and SIU School of Medicine Dean Dorsey continue to meet with their staffs and applicable constituency groups — as I will keep doing for SIUC — to continue laying out specific contingency plans we all are creating for dealing with this new budget reality. I ask for everyone’s ongoing patience and understanding as we move forward. Our options are pretty limited, and these difficult decisions will not be taken lightly. But I remain confident that we will weather this storm by working together and keeping strong our communications across the system. In doing so, we can better prepare ourselves to meet future challenges as we fulfill our mission of providing a great education for our students, a quality workplace for our faculty and staff, and important contributions to the health and economic vitality of the region we serve so well.

Don’t hesitate to let my office know if you have critical questions or concerns which arise in the coming weeks.

Randy Dunn