This is the text of the email College of DuPage President Robert Breuder sent to the board of trustees on May 9 concerning the school's pursuit of $20 million in state funding from Gov. Pat Quinn's office:
I am in a bit of a quandary.
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We have been working with the Governor's Office (seemingly forever) to secure our $20 million. Initially the money was to be used for our Homeland Security initiative. When we accomplished our Homeland agenda without state funding, we changed the focus to building demolition. With that initiative soon to be history we need an alternative. I needed to identify a project that would help release our state funding. My idea: a Teaching and Learning Center.
Several Board members want to weigh in on the need for such a facility. I have no problem with that; however, not being able to say how we would use the state's money (perhaps no real need) could lessen our chances to break the money loose at this time (the political moon is rising). A building that focuses on teaching and learning is politically attractive; more so than let's say a student center, PE facility, etc.
At COD, general purpose classroom space is our greatest need. (See attached Board agenda item.) A need that will expand with continued enrollment growth. My having to dance around the issue of how we would use the money attenuates our ask. When I introduce Governor Quinn at commencement, I want to help our cause (getting the $20 million released sooner rather than later) by thanking him for his commitment in front of 3,500 people. There are many voters in our District. Please keep November 4 in mind. The limited state dollars for capital projects will go somewhere in this heightened political season. Why not College of DuPage?
In the attached press release you can see how I have had to dance around how we would use the money. It was a less effective quote than it could have been.
And lastly, who better to know what physical space needs we have than the people who deliver services every day? There is always the option of telling the Governor we want the money, will bank it until we figure out how to use it, and then build something. And is it not better to match money than to provide 100%?
Bottom line: I need some room to breathe on this matter so I can enhance the likelihood we get the $20 million, soon.
P.S. In the last five years, I have led a $550 million transformation of our physical plant. By now I hope all Board members have confidence in my judgment. But, then again, this may be about something else.