Dietz Hoping To Resell Springfield On Higher Ed

Apr 11, 2017

File Photo: Hovey Hall, Illinois State University Administration
Credit Emma Shores / WGLT

Illinois State University President Larry Dietz is set to appear before two legislative committees in Springfield this month to testify about the budgeting process--or lack of one.

Thursday, he will speak about budget issues to the House Higher Education Appropriations Committee. Then next week, he'll do the same thing on the senate side.

In the absence of a state budget, a so-called "lifeline budget" is being proposed. A year ago this was called a "stopgap" budget. During Sound Ideas, Dietz said he's in the position of having to accept what he calls 'the only game in town.'

The 'lifeline' lawmakers are considering throwing to ISU would put the university at about 66 percent of the FY 2015 funding level which was about $73.8 million. That would be about $48.7 million, down from a FY 2005 appropriation of $80.4 million.

"I certainly support that (lifeline budget) and if other elected officials think that's not the right bill, I would hope they would get their heads together and come up with another one. Right now, we support this because it means money for all the institutions and for ISU," Dietz said.

The years-long, slow seepage of dollars in the annual budget allocations to higher education has taken its toll, Dietz said. At one time, Illinois was among the top states in the nation when it came to per-capita spending on higher ed. Times have changed, said Dietz.

"At one time, we were in the top five or six. There are lots of studies about this in terms of investment but we've been on the slide for a number of years," said Dietz. "I think the citizens of the state want quality higher education institutions in Illinois to send their sons and daughters to. The furloughs and layoffs and program cuts (at other institutions) eventually eats into the overall higher education image within the state," Dietz added.

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