CLC not waiting for state cash for adult education
College of Lake County plans to tap its coffers to make up for not receiving $1 million from the state that typically goes toward its adult education program.
Officials at Grayslake-based CLC say they don't want adult education negatively affected because the cash that was supposed to be sent to the school is held up in the budget impasse in Springfield.
English as a Second Language and basic reading, writing and mathematics are part of CLC's adult program for roughly 2,500 students who have not received a high school diploma. The classes don't count toward an associate degree or career certificate program.
"When you think about it, that is about 2,500 students who need help, need a helping hand," CLC Trustee Richard Anderson said.
CLC board members voted Tuesday night to fully fund adult education with the $1 million in local money until the fiscal year ends June 30. The move came about three weeks after Gov. Bruce Rauner said community colleges and four-year universities won't receive state money while Illinois is without a budget.
About $1 million in state and federal funding was supposed go toward CLC's $3.4 million adult education program for the 2015-16 academic season. Officials said the federal money is being withheld because it must be sent with state matching funds to CLC.
CLC board Chairman William Griffin said in a statement the school is in "an extremely difficult position."
"The total impasse in Springfield is forcing us, in essence, to be the state's banker and come up with the funds to cover the program or significantly cut the courses we offer," Griffin said. "Students need these courses and we can't let them down."
In another move, the CLC board voted to use local money to cover $454,000 the state has not released from the federal Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act. Perkins funding goes toward curriculum development and support services for pupils in technical and career programs.
Any state money owed to local community colleges since July 1 has not been shipped. Illinois Community College Board officials have said schools have expressed concern about possibly needing to reduce class and program offerings for the spring semester if the budget impasses drags on.
CLC might be forced into a difficult decision if the state still owes community colleges a significant amount of money when budget discussions for the next academic year start in early 2016, Anderson said. CLC would have to consider raising tuition, possibly by $3 to $4 per credit hour, to ensure programs are properly funded in 2016-17, he said.
"We're looking at a hefty tuition increase to cover this," Anderson said.