SIU board votes 'no' on reallocation of $5.1 million to Edwardsville campus

CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) - The Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees voted "no" on a proposal to take $5.125 million of state funds and reallocate them from the Carbondale campus to the Edwardsville campus.

The Board voted in a meeting on Thursday afternoon, April 12.

According to a statement from the Board, the reasoning was over the past several years SIUE's enrollment rates have risen while SIUC has been falling.

Now, SIUE has almost the same amount of students attending as SIUC.

City Officials from Carbondale's Chamber of Commerce were worried that the new proposal could mean a huge blow to Carbondale's economy. So much so that they issued a statement to the Board urging them to reconsider.

Jennifer Olson, the Chamber's Interim Director, said a study was conducted by SIUC that found that every $1 of state funding put into SIUC generates $7.72 for Carbondale's local economy. Therefore, the Chamber predicts that taking $5 million from SIUC would mean taking away around $39 million from Carbondale.

She said this accounts for money students spend while in town, what their parents and friends spend when they visit, and so on.

Most local businesses in Carbondale said they've felt the effects of SIUC's lowering enrollment already. However, managers of Chango's on South Illinois Ave. said they weren't worried about how the vote goes.

Jasmine Alexander helps run the restaurant with her family and said they've seen the effects of fewer students attending the school but they are continuing to keep customers coming in and ordering out for delivery.

"I don't really think it has much to do with the economics and the students being gone," she said, "You just have to do what you have to do."

She said the fact that they keep trying new things and stay open later and more often than competitors they are managing to maintain a steady amount of business.

State Rep. Monica Bristow, D-Godfrey, state Rep. LaToya Greenwood, D-East St. Louis, state Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, and state Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, stood in support of the proposal, and released the following statement:

"We support the Southern Illinois University system and both campuses located in Carbondale and Edwardsville who have had a relationship of working together. While we support the individual mission of each campus, during the last two decades, Southern Illinois University's Carbondale campus has seen a sharp decline in enrollment, with a decrease of 37 percent since 1999.  Meanwhile, the student population of Edwardsville's campus has steadily increased, and the two campuses now rival each other in size.  With equal student populations, the two campuses should get equal funding.

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