July 17, 2008
SOUTHERN ILLNOIS UNIVERSITY GAINS LARGEST STATE OPERATING INCREASE IN 7 YEARS
NEWS RELEASE: 7/17/08
Contact: Dave Gross
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
SOUTHERN ILLNOIS UNIVERSITY GAINS LARGEST STATE
OPERATING INCREASE IN 7 YEARS
Legislature and Governor agree on $8.5 million operations increase; stalled capital bill hurts SIU’s future
“Despite the difficult political environment in Springfield, I am pleased to report that Gov. Blagojevich has agreed with the state legislature and approved the largest operating increase for public universities in seven years,” SIU President Glenn Poshard announced today (July 17).
Poshard, who spent many days in Springfield this spring working on the operations increase as well as a capital spending plan, credited the $37 million operating increase for public universities with a growing understanding by key higher education legislators and Gov. Blagojevich that public investments in higher education strengthen the state’s economy.
“Employment growth and investments in higher education go hand in hand. At a time when the state is desperately trying to find ways to create jobs, this increase makes good economic sense,” Poshard continued.
The SIU system will see an $8.8 million gain in state operating assistance. The funds will primarily be allocated to cost-of-living increases contractually agreed to between the University and employee bargaining representatives. Non-represented employees will also see cost of living increases as a result of the state operations increase.
“These funds help us fulfill our contractual obligations to our employees. And, if we are to compete for outstanding faculty and staff and keep tuition affordable, a state increase like this is an absolute necessity,” Poshard stated.
The SIU system will also gain an additional $6.9 million in state funding for specific university initiatives. These include: $200,000 for student retention efforts; $250,000 for the Senator Vince Demuzio SIU Governmental Internship Program; $1 million for the James Walker Presidential Scholarship Fund; $2.4 million for the SIUC School of Medicine for a research grant for the SimmonsCooper Cancer Institute; and a $3 million grant for ethanol research at the National Corn to Ethanol Research Center at SIUE.
“These state funds help sustain important initiatives being undertaken at the University. They are the result of our state legislators working with my office to identify opportunities to secure funding for these outstanding programs. For their efforts, we are most appreciative,” Poshard continued.
An additional $320 million in funding for the SIU system for capital improvements, new facilities, and energy-related research grants is currently stalled in the Illinois House of Representatives. Included in the proposal is a $75 million science building for SIUE; $54.5 million for the Transportation and Education Center for SIUC; a $10 million Patient Safety Center for the SIUC School of Medicine in Springfield; $21.8 million for construction costs for Morris Library at SIUC; and $71 million for capital improvements to existing facilities throughout the SIU system.
“While I am deeply disappointed that the opportunity to grow every part of the SIU system with a capital construction program is now stalled in the House of Representatives, I remain hopeful that the legislature and the governor will find a way to approve a comprehensive plan that will allow projects critical to the future of this entire University to go forward,” Poshard concluded.