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Spoon River College

Rich Egger

Illinois' financial support for community colleges has declined in recent years, just as it has for four-year institutions. That's forcing many community colleges to raise the price of tuition, which Spoon River College President Curt Oldfield said makes it more difficult for the schools to serve their wide-ranging constituencies.

Rich Egger

On January 13th, in the basement of Spoon River College's Washington Street Campus, Adult Education Program Coordinator Cynthia Johnston patiently encouraged me as I struggled to read a paragraph aloud.

The 93rd Illinois House District includes one public university and two community colleges.  Incumbent Representative Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) believes she's served higher education well and she's running for a fourth term. Her Democratic opponent John Curtis believes the state should be doing a better job of supporting higher education and thinks he can help reverse course on the trend of declining state aid.

Rich Egger

Representatives from across the higher education spectrum gathered at Western Illinois University in Macomb to urge the state to provide funding for colleges and universities. But just hours afterward, Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a measure (SB 2043) that would have funded MAP grants and provided at least a bit of income for the schools.

Rich Egger

Spoon River College owns the building needed for its new campus in Macomb. And there is plenty of parking available.  What's missing is the construction money it hoped to get from the state for renovating the building.

Rich Egger

A couple community college presidents in western Illinois are generally supportive of a proposal from the White House.

Rich Egger

It did not take long to settle a new contract for faculty at Spoon River College.

SRC Moves Forward on 4.3 Mil. Bond Issue

Oct 25, 2013

Spoon River College moved one step closer to realizing something that was included in the original plans for its Canton Campus.

Rich Egger

It’s been several years since Spoon River College acquired a former furniture store on East Jackson Street in Macomb, hoping to convert it into its new Macomb campus.

The Spoon River College Board of Trustees voted during a special meeting on February 6 to approve the new two-year contract with full-time faculty.

The agreement had already been ratified by teachers.

College President Curt Oldfield considers it a good contract.

“It weaves in the changes that the faculty were requesting. So we were able to have a mutually beneficial contract that met the needs of the faculty and their bargaining unit and also met the needs of the Board of Trustees to keep expenses in line with budgets that were created,” Oldfield said.

A lengthy bargaining session between Spoon River College and the Spoon River College Faculty Association yielded the desired result: a tentative contract agreement.

The mediated talks began Tuesday afternoon and ended around midnight.

Contract details are not yet being released. The SRCFA will meet Friday afternoon to discuss the agreement. Its members could take a vote during that meeting.

It’s not known when the Board of Trustees will consider the contract. It won’t take a vote until after the package is ratified by teachers.

The Spoon River College Faculty Association said its members don’t want to strike. But they’ve taken action to ensure that option is on the table.

SRC Faculty Association

Faculty at Spoon River College say they are "frustrated and disappointed" about contract talks with the community college’s administration. Teachers have been working without a contract since their previous six-year deal expired in mid-August.

During the Board of Trustees’ October meeting in Rushville, SRC Faculty Association President Stacy Swanson said the administration’s contract proposals discourage professional development and remove caps from insurance increases. She also said SRC’s faculty members are the lowest paid community college teachers in the state.

Rich Egger

The State of Illinois has yet to provide funding to help Spoon River College build its new campus in Macomb, and the longer it takes the more expensive the project becomes.

Brett Stoller, SRC Vice President of Administrative Services, said both the state and the college will have to come up with more money.

“The total project goes up 2.7% (per year), and so our 25% share of that automatically goes up also,” Stoller said.

The estimated cost is now $16,278,800.  SRC is asking the state for $12,209,200 and will provide a local match of $4,069,600.

A person who graduated from Spoon River College and later worked at the school will serve as its eighth president.

Curtis Oldfield was introduced to the public during news conferences at the Canton, Macomb, and Rushville campuses. He will take office July 1.

"He brings (to SRC) experience in working to serve a diverse range of students seeking college transfer preparation, workforce training, and career enhancement," said Gayle Strode Blodgett, Chair of the SRC Board of Trustees.

The list of candidates to be Spoon River College's next president is down to five finalists. They come from across the country.

Interviews and public forums will be held during the next few weeks.  The forums will be held at 8:30 am and 2:10 pm at all four SRC campuses via the school's Interactive Video System:

February 29. Mr Curt Oldfield, Vice President of Academic Affairs at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, Iowa. He was previously Dean of Instruction at SRC.

March 5. Ms Carol Davis, Vice President of Community Outreach at SRC.

Graphic from SRC.edu

Spoon River College has narrowed its presidential search to six finalists.

Their names are not being released yet. SRC said it wants to "protect the privacy and confidentiality of each person."

However, their identities will soon become known. The school said the finalists are scheduled to meet with the public during forums on the Canton and Macomb campuses on Wednesday, February 29; Monday March 5; Monday, March 19; Wednesday March 21; Monday March 26; and Wednesday March 28. The forums are scheduled to begin at 8:30am and 2:00pm.