General Assembly approves spending bill, governor expected to sign

Cassie Buchman, Associate News Editor

A bill that would spend $600 million to fund public universities and colleges through the summer, SB2059, passed through the House and Senate Friday morning.

If approved by Gov. Bruce Rauner, $12,456,500 will be appropriated from the Education Assistance fund to Eastern’s Board of Trustees for ordinary and contingent expenses.

The bill passed the House 106-2 and the Senate 55-0. Rauner has indicated he will sign the bill, which has now been sent to him, The Chicago Tribune reports.

Paul McCann, interim vice president for business affairs, said the money from this legislation will be used for operating expenses, such as salaries for current employees and supplies.

“This will go to support the budget that’s already out there,” McCann said. “FY16, and then we’ll be doing in June a (FY17) budget.”

The $12,456,500 is not enough to bring back laid off employees and will not go to any one area or department; it will just be used to cover the university’s expenses for about two months.

McCann said the administration will continue monitoring what is happening in Springfield, and they will make the necessary decisions to continue operating.

The bill was passed because money is sitting in the Education Assistance Fund to pay for it, McCann said.

Although the bill is “better than a poke in the eye,” McCann said there were other bills being discussed that would have helped the school more, and this bill funds the university for a fairly short period of time.

“There are others that would have given us more money,” McCann said. “This is probably the least of all of them.”

He said the bill funds Monetary Award Program grants somewhere around $3 and a half million.

“They’re going to fund the fall semester of MAP grants,” McCann said. “The students will see no difference.”

Updates will come as more information becomes available.


 Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]