Lack of state money could create CLC budget deficit

 
 
Updated 1/27/2016 11:11 AM
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  • College of Lake County President Jerry Weber, left, told board members Tuesday night a lack of state funding could lead to a budget deficit and lead to using reserve funds in the 2016-17 academic year.

      College of Lake County President Jerry Weber, left, told board members Tuesday night a lack of state funding could lead to a budget deficit and lead to using reserve funds in the 2016-17 academic year. Bob Susnjara | Staff Photographer

College of Lake County President Jerry Weber says a lack of state funding could lead to a budget deficit in the 2016-17 academic year.

Weber raised the possibility of a deficit and needing to tap into reserves after telling CLC board members Tuesday night there might be a push for a bill to allow for funding of two-year schools statewide.

CLC last fall tapped its coffers to cover $1 million it didn't receive from the state that typically goes toward its adult education program. Weber said the lack of state money because of the Springfield budget impasse is noticeable.

"For us -- I've been telling the legislators this -- it's a difference between a balanced budget and a budget deficit (for 2016-17), because we won't have the time to make the corrections we'll need this late and it'll probably be the first time in the college's history it's run a budget deficit."

CLC has a roughly $103 million budget for the 2015-16 academic year.

At Tuesday night's board meeting, Weber said the idea of pushing for a bill to specifically fund two-year schools while the state remains without a budget is expected to be discussed at a meeting of community college officials Friday.

"We're just starting these discussions," Weber said. "I've called around to our (Lake County) legislators and found that there was some general support for that. Not everyone, but some general support for that idea."

CLC board Chairman William Griffin suggested that trustees contact state lawmakers representing the areas where they live to promote the concept of a community college funding bill.

Officials at most suburban community colleges say loans will be floated to students for grants that are tied up in Illinois' budget standoff.

However, Weber said a tuition increase at CLC might be needed to make up for the state not sending the school any money since July 1 and not paying for its Monetary Award Program scholarships,

Last month, CLC board members agreed that a lack of promised state funding should not derail construction of a science and engineering building on the Grayslake campus.

Officials said an extra $2.2 million in local funding will be set aside for the project.

About $17.5 million in state money was supposed to go toward construction of the roughly $30 million, three-story structure that started in spring 2015.

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