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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

Public Colleges, Universities Hit Hard During Illinois Budget Stalemate

Kankakee Community College

Many public Illinois colleges and universities are hard-hit by the budget stalemate. The state isn’t mandated to fund higher education the way it must pay for kindergarten through high school.

Kankakee Community College made cuts earlier in the year due to a continued decline in enrollment. Officials cut down on its award-winning sustainability program and decided to stop operating its public radio station.

But now, college officials are making deeper cuts, which are expected to affect about 40 of the institution’s 300 full- and part-time employees. KCC is eliminating its CDL Truck-Driving and Massage Therapy programs, and cutting back adult education programs and athletics.

KCC President John Avandano says he’s talked with Gov. Bruce Rauner and sent letters to State Rep. Kate Cloonen and State Sen. Toi Hutchinson. 

“I don’t think people really see the faces or the lives that are impacted, because, well, okay, this state hasn’t passed its budget…let’s wait to see who blinks first,” Avandano said. “Well, we can’t wait for that. Unfortunately, lives are being impacted. Students who want to receive an education are being impacted. And, in our case, employees are being impacted.”

Avandano says Gov. Rauner has told him not to count on a retroactive payment when a budget deal is reached.