The SIU Edwardsville campus community argues shifting five million dollars in state funding to the Edwardsville campus will make the overall Southern Illinois University system thrive – the Carbondale campus disagrees.
“We strongly believe that a failed SIUC would ultimately lead to a failed SIU system,” said Ahmad Fakhoury on behalf of SIUC’s faculty senate through a memo sent to the SIU Board of Trustees obtained by the Daily Egyptian on April 7. “Such a decision at this time would derail determined attempts by both the faculty and the administration at SIUC to re-invent the institution.”
The Board of Trustees will decide at the April 12 meeting whether to shift approximately $5.1 million in state funding from the Carbondale campus to the Edwardsville campus.
The possibility of the proposal was discussed to be considered on March 9 at the Board of Trustees retreat meeting at the Touch of Nature.
“We’re asking the board to reconsider the allocation model because we believe it is important to the system and our campus,” said Denise Cobb, SIUE provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “We’d liked to be viewed as a full partner in the system and as a contributor to this system.”
This has been a matter of discussion since the peak of the state budget impasse, SIU President Randy Dunn said at the meeting.
The matter resulted in SIUC borrowing $37 million from the Edwardsville campus in May 2017 after the university exhausted $83 million in reserve.
The borrowed $35 million was repaid in July 2017, said SIU university spokeswoman Rae Goldsmith.
In the original state allocation model roughly 60 percent of the funding went to Carbondale, excluding the medical school and 40 percent went to Edwardsville, Dunn said.
The funding shift to SIUE, which is the fastest growing public university in the state, would let the institution expand its campus, programs and graduate education Dunn said.
Edwardsville has made the investments in the university to have the capacity for growing programs and departments, Cobb said.
“We want to move forward,” Cobb said. “We need your help to do that.”
A common theme in the discussions of shifting funds on the SIUE campus was the Edwardsville campus being treated equally, SIU Board of Trustees chair Amy Scholar said.
“SIUE wants to be seen as an equal partner in the system,” Scholar said.
If the reapportionment is approved, the state allocation model would be a formula using enrollment as one of the main factors.
“One would think that the biggest percent of a formula driver should probably should be enrollment,” Dunn said. “You can build in performance factors – incentives if you wish.”
According to the reallocation of appropriation agenda item, a third external party will create a formula model for the redistribution of state funds. The formula could include other factors in addition to enrollment, including, facility needs and costs, funding for research, research productivity, and economic impact of the universities in their communities.
Shifting $5.1 million dollars in the 2019 fiscal year would be the beginning of a four year redistribution of state funds process, according to the “Authorization for Phase 1 Reallocation of Appropriation Budget” agenda item.
[aesop_document type=”pdf” src=”https://dailyegyptian.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/SIU-System-Budget-Reallocation.pdf” caption=”PDF: Authorization for Phase 1 Reallocation of Appropriation Budget, SIUE / SIUC”]
With a multi-year adjustment plan, approximately $17.7 million to $23.3 million of state allocations could shift from Carbondale to Edwardsville within four years, according to the agenda item.
When reconsidering the allocation of state funding, Carbondale’s infrastructure should be held an account, Chancellor Carlo Monteamgno said during the Board of Trustees retreat.
Currently the university has $709 million maintenance that was put off due to financial reasons while Edwardsville has $102 million in deferred maintenance needs, he said.
“The cost in maintaining the university is dramatically different. we are 150-year-old campus,” Montemagno said.
Montemagno said he has asked trustees to delay potential alterations to state funding until an independent analysis on state allocations is conducted, according to his blog post on April 4.
If the agenda matter is approved, the five million dollar shift could compromise the university’s financial recovery and stability, would equal a layoff of 110 faculty and staff, could damage recruitment efforts and take more than $39 million from the economy, he said in the post.
“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,” Montemagno said in his post.
If the shift is approved, a plan that considering budget options across campus will be created within the next two weeks to be put in place by July 1 he said.
Pushback to the proposal has also come from U.S. representatives and state representatives and senators.
U.S. Representatives Mike Bost and State Representatives Terri Bryant, Dave Severin, Natalie Phelps-Finnie and State Senators Paul Schimpf and Dale Fowler urged bipartisan caution to the proposal, according to an Illinois state senate news release sent on April 6.
Schimpf supports evaluating and possibly updating the state allotment between the two campuses but that change should come after a careful study has been performed and with the full support of the board, according to the release.
“The current proposal is scheduled to go before an incomplete Board of Trustees, without the benefit of outside, impartial study, at a time when SIUC is in the midst of a reorganization,” Schimpf said in the news release. “I urge the university President and the chair of the Board of Trustees to rethink their decision to press ahead with this vote.”
The data in the agenda item is selective and failed to acknowledge 45 years of history when Edwardsville relied on Carbondale as it was forming into the university it is now, according to the memo sent by the SIUC Faculty Senate.
“Given the current financial state of SIUC, the proposed reallocation of resources at this time would be devastating – not only to SIUC but also to the communities throughout the region,” the memo said.
The Board of Trustees and President Dunn did not respond to the Daily Egyptian’s requests for comments.
Campus Editor Amelia Blakely can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @AmeilaBlakely.
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