Legislators approve funding plan

piggy bank with a dollar sticking out of itState legislators and Gov. Bruce Rauner agreed June 30 on an initial spending plan that would provide $350 million to the university for fiscal 2017 — about 55 percent of the university’s state appropriation for fiscal 2015.

The plan will fund higher education, public K-12 schools and other essential state services through December.

“We are grateful for their hard work and bipartisan compromise, which will improve the university’s financial outlook – providing much welcomed funding and temporarily resolving a year-long budget impasse in Springfield,” University President Tim Killeen said in an email to the campus community.

“The short-term spending plan is a milepost, but does not bring us to the finish line.”

The state funding will be used to pay for fiscal 2016 and 2017 expenses, including MAP grants from spring semester.

“The appropriation will provide critical support for our students, our faculty and staff, our world-class academic and research programs, our Chicago health care enterprise and our Urbana-based state research institutes,” Killeen said. “It represents a significant step in the right direction, and for now defers the need for layoffs and other austerity measures that could have had an irreversible impact on our core missions and our global standing.”

University administrators will continue to work closely with lawmakers to advocate for full funding for fiscal 2016 and 2017, Killeen said. Last month, more than 1,200 university students, employees, alumni and supporters sent about 3,500 emails to state legislators.

“I am also deeply grateful to everyone in the University of Illinois family who has stepped up over the last year to advocate on our behalf,” Killen said. “All of these contributions have been impactful.”

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christyb@uic.edu