Budget reduction plan could cut education funding

Stephanie Markham, News Editor

The Illinois House approved a plan Tuesday that would cut 2.25 percent of funding for education and other areas for the rest of the fiscal year, which at Eastern would mean taking about $1 million out of its $44 million in appropriations.

The plan sponsored by Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan would cut $300 million from various areas, and schools could lose $150 million by the end of June, according to an article in The Chicago Tribune.

The plan is also in accordance with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s attempt to reduce a $1.6 billion deficit in the state budget, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The Senate is scheduled to vote on the plan Thursday.

If approved, the state would rescind 2.25 percent of its allocated funds to certain areas for the remaining three months of fiscal year 2015.

Paul McCann, the interim vice president for business affairs, said Eastern has already committed or spent most of its allocated budget, and he would have to start looking for places where the university could give money back.

While some expenses would have to be reallocated, McCann said he predicts this would mostly mean Eastern’s fund balance would be reduced, which is the amount of money the university has left at the end of the year.

“We usually just about break even,” he said.

Though it is too early to tell exactly what would have to be done, the university has been anticipating budget decreases, McCann said.

“We knew there were going to be changes in the budget,” he said. “We’ll have to look at where we can take it from, but it will work.”

Stephanie Markham can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].