Carbondale Chamber of Commerce responds to SIU's consideration t - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Carbondale Chamber of Commerce responds to SIU's consideration to shift funds

SIU Board of Trustees to consider shifting state funding from Carbondale campus to Edwardsville campus. (Source: KFVS) SIU Board of Trustees to consider shifting state funding from Carbondale campus to Edwardsville campus. (Source: KFVS)
CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) -

Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees will consider a plan at its next meeting to shift state funding from the Carbondale campus to the Edwardsville campus.

The Trustees will meet on April 12.

The funding shift is expected to reflect changes in enrollment at the two campuses.

SIUC Chancellor Carlo Montemagno responded the funding proposal in his blog:

"I have received a number of questions from our campus and community about a proposal to be considered by our Board of Trustees regarding the potential reallocation of state funding from the Carbondale campus to the Edwardsville campus. The proposal requests the reallocation of $5.125 million in funding for Carbondale to be shifted to Edwardsville effective with the new fiscal year. It is described as the first phase of a funding shift based solely on enrollment.

"A sudden, $5.1 million reduction in state funding:

"Could compromise our financial recovery and stability

"Would be equal to the layoff of as many as 110 faculty and staff

"Could damage our student recruitment efforts

"Would take more than $39 million from the local economy

"Given the harm that could be caused by an immediate change, and to allow adequate time for the Carbondale campus to provide input, I have asked trustees to consider delaying potential alterations to the funding formula until an impartial analysis is conducted with the expertise of an external consultant.

"Further exploration needed

"There are many concerns related to the proposal that should be explored.  Many of the metrics cited are misleading or unclear. Further, the proposal presumes that enrollment is the primary factor upon which any future formula will be based, but there is far more that should be considered.

"The Edwardsville and Carbondale campuses have very different missions, affecting each institution’s faculty profile and the cost of program delivery. Hiring faculty at a doctoral research institution is more competitive. In addition, many of our programs require small faculty/student ratios and some, such as agriculture, require a large infrastructure to support student learning. In addition, research institutions must support a larger, more complex physical infrastructure to support their missions.

"While the long-term impact of the proposal would be very damaging, the impact of reducing our budget by more than $5 million in just a few months is our most immediate concern. Since 2014, SIU Carbondale has reduced its budget by more than $31 million and has about 500 fewer employees. We cannot absorb any part of the additional $5.1 million reduction by further increasing tuition, by further deferring maintenance of our facilities, or by reducing staff without damaging the quality of programs and services we provide.

"Investing in the future

"SIU Carbondale is repositioning itself for the future. We are actively working on growing enrollment, and we are already seeing progress. For example, attendance at our most recent open house last week was the highest since 2016 and included a number of high school sophomores and juniors.

"We have managed our budget challenges carefully and responsibly. We are working to further reduce administrative costs and redundancies so that we can reinvest in our programs and people. If we stay on course, even with our expected fall enrollment, we project that we will end FY19 with a balanced operating budget. We should also begin to see some enrollment growth in fall 2019 due to our reorganization and our investments in student services and campus life.

"Changing the funding formula now, when we need to be investing in the future, takes us off course. It will inhibit our ability to grow enrollment, to end FY19 with a balanced operating budget, to provide our faculty and staff with the raises they deserve, and to realize the promise of SIU Carbondale.

"I do not fault my colleagues at SIU Edwardsville for making a case that they believe is in the interest of their institution. However, I feel strongly that a sudden, unexplored plan to advance one institution while damaging another is not in the best interests of the SIU System, any institution that is a part of it, or the Southern Illinois region."

The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors sent a letter to the Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees outlining their concerns with the possible redistribution of funds.

In the letter, the Board states:

"While we understand SIU's overriding priority is to provide a quality institution of learning, we cannot overlook the fact that SIUC serves as an economic engine for southern Illinois."

You can click here to read the letter or read it below.

Several southern Illinois lawmakers also spoke out on the reallocation plan.

Representative Mike Bost, Senator Paul Schimpf, Senator Dale Fowler, Representative Terri Bryant, Representative Dave Severin and Representative Natalie Phelps-Finnie urged "caution" regarding the proposal.

Each one is encouraging their constituents to contact them to share their opinions.

  • U.S. Representative Mike Bost - 202-225-5661
  • State Senator Paul Schimpf - 217-737-2782
  • State Senator Dale Fowler - 618-294-8951
  • State Representative Terri Bryant - 618-242-8115
  • State Representative Dave Severin - 618-440-5090
  • State Representative Natalie Phelps-Finnie - 618-253-4189 

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