Chicago State now able to pay employees through April

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Chicago State University now has enough money to pay its employees through the end of April and the school year, a spokesman said Thursday.

The financially troubled South Side university had been saying it would run out of money by the end of March as Illinois' public colleges and universities wait for state funding held up by the budget standoff.

But university officials have negotiated with companies that do business with the school to use remaining cash reserves on payroll, spokesman Tom Wogan told The Associated Press.

"We've talked to a lot of vendors who are mostly understanding," Wogan said.

But the school still doesn't have money to operate beyond the end of April, he said.

The predominantly black Chicago State has already issued notices of potential layoffs to its 900 employees that would begin after April, and, to stretch its finances, shortened the spring semester to finish that month.

Being able to pay employees through the end of the semester should help Chicago State avoid any immediate accreditation problems, said Robert Bionaz, an associate history professor at the school and head of its faculty union. But he does not yet see any reason for optimism that the long-term situation will improve.

"Absolutely not. I have no idea. I can't imagine how this is going to end," he said.

Illinois has had no state budget since summer as Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democrats who control the General Assembly disagree over how to address a multi-billion dollar gap between the money the state has and its financial obligations.

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