Western Illinois University's strategic plan, Higher Values in Higher Education, states, "Western Illinois University's highest priority is to increase faculty and staff salaries to meet and exceed the mean of peer institutions." Faculty members reminded the school's Board of Trustees of that goal during the Board's most recent meeting.
Illinois lawmakers have been called back to the capitol a few times this summer to weigh in on big state issues during legislative special sessions. Tri States Public Radio recently caught up with Senator Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) when she visited to Macomb. She spoke with TSPR about the two biggest votes of the summer so far: the state budget and K-12 school funding.
The President of Western Illinois University said it's time to put apprehension behind and move forward with enthusiasm and optimism. Dr. Jack Thomas made the remark during Thursday morning's State of the University speech, held just a few days before the new school year begins.
Between a new state pension plan and Governor Bruce Rauner's amendatory veto of the Democrats' school funding plan, some school districts would be in for a big hit in July 2020. The two changes would have a particularly significant impact on districts with high rates of teacher turnover and declining enrollment.
The Illinois House passed a spending plan along with a tax hike and revenue plan as politicians try to end the two year budget stalemate. Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) is one of the Republicans who broke ranks with their party and joined Democrats in supporting the measures.
A few dozen faculty members from Western Illinois University gathered on the steps of Sherman Hall for a group photo on Friday, the eve of Illinois entering a third fiscal year without a state budget. The gathering was organized in an effort to show solidarity and support for the union's Unit B faculty.
Members of the Western Illinois University Board of Trustees said President Jack Thomas has done "an admirable job" of steering the university through difficult times brought on by the unprecedented state budget impasse.
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner called lawmakers back to Springfield for the rest of the month for special sessions focused on the state budget. The sessions begin Wednesday, and the Republican governor delivered a brief address on the eve of the legislature's return:
State spending on public higher education in Illinois has dropped precipitously during the past two years as the state has operated without a budget. But the president of Western Illinois University said the school will not allow itself to be bogged down by the budget stalemate.
Two school funding plans progressed in the Illinois legislature Wednesday. A plan sponsored by Sen. Andy Manar was approved in the Senate, while in the House, a very similar plan sponsored by Rep. Will Davis made it through committee. Does that mean lawmakers may have finally found a way to cure the state's infamously unfair school funding structure?
Higher education has been among the areas feeling the pain from the state budget impasse in Illinois as funding has been cut. It has forced some schools to reduce classes, lay off employees, and, in some cases, close for several days.