Bill filed to separate SIU's Carbondale, Edwardsville campuses - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Bill filed to separate SIU's Carbondale, Edwardsville campuses

A new bill introduced to the Illinois legislature proposes a separate SIU Board of Trustees, one for each campus. (Source: KFVS) A new bill introduced to the Illinois legislature proposes a separate SIU Board of Trustees, one for each campus. (Source: KFVS)
CARBONDALE, IL (KFVS) -

A bill filed in the Illinois legislature would separate Southern Illinois University's Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses.

Sponsored by Representatives Jay Hoffman, Katie Stuart, Monica Bristow and LaToya Greenwood, HB5861 would abolish the Board of Trustees of SIU and establish separate Boards of Trustees, one for the Carbondale campus and one for the Edwardsville campus.

Interim Director for the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce Jennifer Olson says she's worried about SIU Carbondale's image with the potential of Edwardsville campus leaving the SIU system.

"There seems to be inner fighting and inner turmoil between the two campuses that just doesn't bode well for stability,” said Olson.

As someone who cares about the number of students attending SIUC and spending their money in the city, she doesn't think this kind of news is good for the future of Carbondale.

"Bad press and drama could negatively impact somebody trying to choose us as a university and as their new hometown,” said Olson.

President of the Student Graduate and Professional Council, Johnathan Flowers agrees that separating the schools would not bode well for SIU Carbondale. He thinks this could lead to even bigger budget issues than last weeks proposal of reallocating $5 million in state funding to SIUE.

"The state cannot conceivably give Carbondale the full allocation to the SIU system,” said Flowers.
“It would have to discern some way of distributing those funds. So that outcome would likely be a reduction in state appropriations to the Carbondale campus"

With so many different outcomes possible from this proposal, Olson says she hopes the school gets on the right track again as soon as possible...

"You know, as somebody with daughters who will be choosing schools, it's hard when you've got question marks at the end of the future of the university,” said Olson.

The proposal bill is getting some backlash by other state legislatures.  If it passes, it will take effect July 1 according to the proposal. 

Reps. Monica Bristow, D-Godfrey, LaToya Greenwood, D-East St. Louis, Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, and Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, have introduced a package of legislation to ensure that SIU Edwardsville receives their fair share of state funding and resources in the future.  They released the following statement:

“Southern Illinois University Edwardsville campuses have proven to be a bright spot in the state public university system, and have moved forward despite the state’s budgetary challenges," said Bristow. "With the student populations at Edwardsville and Carbondale now so close in size, the only thing that makes sense is to ensure that both campuses receive equal funding." 

“The Board of Trustees recently made the decision to strike down a fairer funding proposal, showing that Edwardsville and Carbondale would continue to receive disproportional funds," said Greenwood. "We are responding with legislative proposals that would ensure equal funding for both schools, rather than giving preference to one over the other."

“We need to ensure that both locations are not hindered by unfair funding. House Bills 5860 and 5861 will ensure that both Edwardsville and Carbondale are equally represented on the Board of Trustees, so that they get an equal say in the future of Southern Illinois University," said Hoffman. "Additionally, House Bill 5859 will require that the each campus receive an equal 50/50 split of state funding."

“It is time for the leadership of Southern Illinois University to accept the reality of the situation," said Stewart. "Although the Southern Illinois University system has endured a successful partnership over the years, the current climate in higher education indicates the need for independence. Due to the changing financial needs of the two schools, we believe that the successful and smooth transition between Carbondale and Edwardsville is necessary to allow them to receive state funds equally.”

You can click here to read the full text of the bill or read it below.

On Tuesday, April 17, the SIU Board of Trustees Chair Amy Sholar and SIU President Randy Dunn issued a joint statement regarding HB5861/HB1292.

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

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Copyright 2018 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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