Responses to State of the Budget Questions

The following questions, in some cases, represent a composite of questions submitted to [email protected]. Suggestions for cost savings, process improvement, and revenue generation also were received. These were forwarded to the team that is developing the plan from the September employee survey for cost savings and revenue generation and are not covered here. A report on those suggestions will be released soon.

When will the furlough take effect?

If the State doesn’t come through with the additional $1.8 million of funding included as revenue in this year’s budget, the furloughs would begin in February and could continue as a one day a month through June. If the State comes through with the $1.8 million, furlough days will end.

Who will be required to take furlough days?

All staff, including the Cabinet and President, will be required to take furlough days if we need use this strategy. Faculty (full-time and adjunct) will not be asked to take furlough days because accreditation has a required number of instructional days. Because the Carpenters have a negotiated contract, we legally cannot require them to take furlough days. Part-time employees will have their furlough days pro-rated.

Why can’t we use vacation days instead of furlough days?

Vacation days are still paid days off. Using vacation days doesn’t reduce the overall payroll amount. Consequently, using these days will not achieve the savings we need for the budget.

Have you considered voluntary furlough days?

Several options have been considered. However, to achieve the budget goals, we would need all non-bargaining unit employees to participate, including the President and Cabinet.

How can we provide for every employee an opportunity to personally help reduce expenses?

We received a number of suggestions through the [email protected] for cost savings. All employees were asked to provide suggestions for revenue enhancement and cost savings in a survey earlier in the semester. A report on those opportunities will be available soon. For specifics about how you, as an individual, can help, talk with your supervisor or Cabinet member.

Will there be lay-offs?

The Cabinet will be looking at restructuring departments. If enacted, this will most likely result in the elimination of positions.

What about program closures?

We continue to look at program vitality. If a program is eliminated, it will happen through the established college process for program curtailment.

What is happening at the State level on the budget process? Will there ever be one again?

We honestly don’t know. We hope there will be. When Governor Rauner was here last year, he said that he would keep community colleges whole. We hope he keeps that promise. There are rumblings in Springfield that we could go another two years without a budget.

Is there funding for capital items?

Discretionary funding will be determined based on mission-critical needs. So if the capital request relates to a mission critical endeavor, the College will do its best to fund it.
 

When will ICC plan a mass field trip to Springfield to protest the lack of budget?

This is a catch twenty-two: mass public outcry may cause our students and community to question our quality and viability, which could negatively impact enrollment. Also, we’ve frozen travel expenses. The President is meeting with our local representatives. All community colleges also are represented by a lobbyist; the College is invited to Lobby Days in the General Assembly; and College leadership is regularly in contact with our General Assembly members. However, we encourage you to contact your General Assembly representatives to voice your opinion. Please use your personal email and/or postage in contacting them on your own time and from your own computer to avoid an ethics conflict. If you don’t know who your rep is, visit: http://il–nea.capwiz.com/nea/il/directory/statedir.tt?state=IL&lvl=state

Have we considered a 4-day work week?

A four-day work week would have the same effect as multiple furlough days, since you would be paying people for one less day. If you wanted people to go to four 10-hour days, you would still be paying the same amount. The facilities savings would be negligible. However, we are investigating which facilities might close and how we can optimize efficient use of our facilities.

Have we considered curtailing our sports programs?

Yes, we have, but since students have already committed to the College, it would create a significant hardship to the students to eliminate programs this year without a negative impact on students. The elimination of these programs also would result in a loss of enrollment, as well as losses for a number of auxiliary services such as campus dining and housing.

Athletics has, however, been challenged to continue to reduce travel and staff expenses as part of the cost containment approach. Sometimes, however, it costs less to travel to another college than it does to host an event, so we are looking at multiple options to be efficient and still provide quality programs. In recent years, teams have also had to increase their fundraising as a way to support requests that could not be funded due to program cuts.

I’m wondering if the college would consider either an internal or internal/ external crowdfunding campaign to compensate for the missing 1.8 million dollars from the state as an alternative to the spring furlough of non-union employees?

That’s an interesting suggestion and certainly worth investigating. Whether we would be able to raise $1.8 million is questionable, but such a source might help diminish the need for other cost-savings measures.

Currently when employees retire, they are eligible to be paid for unused vacation days, up to a certain number of days.  Is this an area of elimination that is being considered?

Employees will continue to receive vacation payout when separating from the College in accordance with our vacation policy and legal requirements.

Are there any plans to close the Pekin Campus?

ICC and Pekin area communities have been in discussions about the viability of a presence in the Pekin area. The exploration is ongoing, and we don’t have a firm answer right now. We will in the near future. The Board of Trustees will make the ultimate decision.

Does the travel freeze affect travel for internships that are a part of an academic program?

The only travel that will be allowed is mission-critical travel. Internship meetings are critical to some programs, and the meetings associated with them are required. In this case, travel would be covered. But we would also encourage people to explore other options, such as teleconferencing, when appropriate.

For further questions, please email [email protected].

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