recommends 0.9 percent increase in higher ed appropriations for FY06
Tom Cronin - Public Affairs Reporter
higher education system in Illinois could receive an additional $19.4
million in basic operational funds and grants from the state’s general
fund next year – an increase of 0.9 percent over this year’s
higher education budget – if Gov. Rod Blagojevich and state legislators
approve the Illinois Board of Higher Education’s budget recommendations
for fiscal year 2006.
At a meeting held on Feb. 1 at UIS,
the board voted unanimously to recommend a $2.43 billion fiscal year 2006
higher education budget, which would be $281.5 million, or 13.1 percent,
higher than the budget for this fiscal year. The recommended increase
is based on the funding needs of the state’s public universities,
community colleges, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, the State
Universities Retirement System and other areas of higher education.
Dan Layzell, IBHE deputy director
of planning and budgeting, said that $262 million of the overall increase
for fiscal year 2006 has been earmarked for the State Universities Retirement
System. Without the funding for the retirement system, he said, the recommended
state support for higher education operations and grants for fiscal year
2006 totals $2.12 billion, which would be $19.4 million higher than this
According to IBHE Chairman James Kaplan,
the board’s recommendations call for modest funding increases to
areas of higher education that board members have identified as priorities.
Among these areas are maintaining affordability and accessibility, providing
financial support for students demonstrating financial need, and retaining
and recruiting quality faculty and staff at the state’s public universities,
Layzell described the board’s
request as “modest and reasonable,” but he said that the board
needed to recommend some cuts to areas that deserved to be considered
for more funding to make sure enough money was allocated to the areas
of highest priority.
The board recommended reallocating $29.9 million to increase funding in
areas such as the Monetary Award Program, the state’s public universities
and the community college system. According to Layzell, the areas that
would see cuts under the board’s recommendations include community
college restrictive grants, ISAC administrative services, ISAC Merit Recognition
Scholarships and several grant programs administered by the IBHE.
“When we put together a budget
recommendation, we look outward in terms of what the state’s financial
picture is likely to be,” Layzell said. “You have to take
reality into consideration when you’re putting these recommendations
together because I think in the long run, when you put together a set
of recommendations, they’re more likely to be considered favorably
when they get to the General Assembly and the governor’s office.”
Last year, the IBHE recommended that
the state fund higher education at the same level this year, fiscal year
2005, as last fiscal year. After Blagojevich and Senate President Emil
Jones proposed to cut higher education by as much as 4.25 percent, state
leaders ultimately decided that higher education would receive level funding
for fiscal year 2005.
UIS Chancellor Richard Ringeisen said
last August that presidents and chancellors representing every public
institution in Illinois came together for the first time last spring to
sign a letter supporting the IBHE’s “realistic” request.
According to Ringeisen, several legislators said that the letter played
an important role in their budget decision.
This fiscal year, the state appropriated
$697 million in general operational and grant funding to the UI system,
of which $21.2 million went to UIS. The IBHE’s recommendations for
next fiscal year would raise UI appropriation levels to $704 million,
an increase of 1 percent over the current fiscal year. The university’s
request to the board was $769 million, which would have amounted to a
10.3 percent increase.
The level of general operational and
grant funding appropriated to UIS under the IBHE’s recommendations
for next fiscal year would be $21.6 million, an increase of 1.5 percent
over this fiscal year. The university requested $25.1 million in general
funds for UIS, which would have increased funding by18.6 percent.
Overall, the IBHE’s recommended
increases in general operational and grant funding for the state’s
public universities amount to $14.7 million, or 1.1 percent.
The board recommended $350 million in higher education capital improvements
for fiscal year 2006, including $40 million for capital renewal projects.
Of the amount proposed for capital renewal, $27.9 million would be used
for projects at the state’s public universities, including $458,200
for remodeling projects at UIS.
In terms of general funds appropriations,
state support for higher education has declined by $348 million, or 13.9
percent, since fiscal year 2003. In this time, annual tuition costs have
increased by an average of $1,188, or 23.6 percent, for continuing students
at Illinois’ public universities.
“It’s becoming increasingly
clear that K-12 … has hijacked the whole discussion and attention
regarding education issues and, as importantly, the flow of dollars,”
IBHE Executive Director Tom Lamont said. “We all collectively have
to do a better job of informing the public and our government leaders
of higher education’s role in the K-12 process and what K-16 is
all about. We need to do this if we are truly going to have a place at
the appropriations negotiating table.”
discusses changes to bylaws, selection of sgt. at arms position
Jason Satek - SGA/General Assignment Reporter
The Student Government Association met early Sunday morning in accommodation
of a busy sporting weekend highlighted by a home game of the undefeated
Illini Men’s basketball team and Super Bowl XXXIX.
meeting came to order, pledged allegiance to the flag, and achieved a
voting quorum with nine members present.
Standing Committee reports, President Tyson Roan spoke about meeting he
had had to gauge possible participation in a “Vintage Hollywood”
fundraising event for the Sangamon Auditorium on April 16th. It was pointed
out that this date overlapped with Spring Fest, and that members might
have other plans or be otherwise committed. Roan then made the offer that
anyone interested in the opportunity could contact him privately.
President Carrie Bauer gave a report on the Student Activities Committee,
and the meeting turned to the new by-laws of the recently approved SGA
constitution. Sergeant At Arms Dan Kovats stated that he was in the midst
of writing the by-laws, and while he would not be bringing them forward
for a vote, he would welcome input regarding their form.
the major points mentioned were that most official duties of the SGA officers
listed in the constitution would be taken from there and be resituated
in the by-laws, that under the next government the Sgt. At Arms position
would be appointed by the President and not elected as he himself had
been, and that the Sgt. At Arms would have final say in regards to constitutional
issues, but would be able to be overridden by a two-thirds majority vote
of those members in attendance of the meeting.
mentioned in the constitutional discussion were the current makeup and
future activities of SAC and Inter Club Council Board, committee responsibilities
of the representatives, refinement in disciplinary by-laws, cutting down
on redundant verbiage in the constitution, and the creation of a Students
Bill of Rights.
next order of business was a review of the budget, with an eye towards
sending representatives to the Conference of Student Government Associations
meeting at Texas A & M University in late February. President Roan
asserted that the SGA were within their planned financial parameters,
as had been thought to be true at the last meeting in January, but had
not been completely calculated. The issue of a refunded check that had
not been received yet caused concern that the stated amount might vary
to some degree.
detailed knowledge of the budget, the SGA then addressed a request by
Campus Outreach Opportunity League conference for funds. With rough estimates
for the money necessary for attendees of the D.C. lobbying summit already
accounted for, five hundred dollars were granted to them in a non-unanimous
new business, the plan for an Illinois statehouse summit were updated
by President Roan, who informed the SGA that through efforts by Associate
Chancellor Ed Wojcicki, UIS had become the lead in efforts to join with
other schools and lobby the Illinois legislature in regards to rising
tuition and other student concerns.
down, there was discussion of the new Student Programming Advisory Board
for Sangamon Auditorium, construction vehicle traffic on campus and a
motion to accept the resignation of Representative at Large Sarah Jahn.
The motion passed, plans were put forth to advertise the availability
of the position, and the meeting adjourned.
Ron Felten - General Assignment Reporter
though the ground is still frozen solid, it is not too early for UIS students
to start preparing for the greatly anticipated annual campus event known
simply as Springfest.
The week-long competition, which will be held for the 13th year this spring
and has built a serious reputation, will feature a variety of athletic
games and academic challenges in which teams of UIS students and staff
will compete for medals, prizes and, most importantly, bragging rights.
This year’s Springfest will
run from April 10 - 16 and will reportedly be very similar to those of
recent years, featuring events like flag football, kickball, a Jeopardy-style
quiz game, a chant contest and the Spring Fling, the traditional Springfest
One of the most popular events, though,
is also the one with the most interesting history. Springfest’s
first ever mud tug-of-war contest was held where the Larkspur apartments
now stand. In 1992, the apartments were still under construction and the
builders agreed to dig a mud pit where the historic tug-of-war then took
Brie Hudkins, a sophomore political studies major and Springfest committee
member, said she thinks Springfest and its history are an important part
of UIS’ identity. "Springfest’s original purpose was
to create an event for people to get involved in," she said. "But
it now adds the sense of tradition our campus needs."
Hudkins said she thinks the inclusive
nature of the event is one of its strengths. "Anyone can participate,"
she said. "People can register as a team or be placed on a spot [within
an existing] team. I encourage everyone to participate even if it’s
only as a judge for an event."
Each Springfest has a theme and this
year will be no exception. "Springfest was first started in 1992,"
said Cynthia Thompson, director of the UIS Office of Student Life. "So
our theme this year will be ‘Brought to You Since ‘92.’"
Thompson also encouraged students
to get involved in this year’s Springfest, noting that the event
has become increasingly more popular every year. "The number of teams
participating has dramatically increased," she said. "It has
almost doubled from nine teams in 2003 to 16 last year." Despite
the expected increase again this year, Thompson said there are currently
no plans to limit the total number of teams that will be allowed to participate.
Brad Ward, a junior business administration
major and chairman of the Springfest publicity committee, said Springfest
provides the perfect chance for UIS students to unwind and relax before
finals. "Springfest is a great opportunity to have fun for an entire
week, not just one night," Ward said. "The contests held throughout
the week all build up to Saturday, the big day when the contest is won."
Springfest’s various competitions
are each assigned a certain number of points, which are then awarded to
the winners of each event. The team with the largest number of points
on Saturday is declared the winner. Ward said the competition was very
rewarding – literally. "[My teammates and I each] received
first place medals," Ward said. "And the team got $250 to use
at the restaurant of our choice."
Ward said those interested in volunteering
to help organize and run this year’s Springfest are more than welcome.
"I am looking for some great, enthusiastic people to help me out,"
he said. "[The committee] meets at 3 pm on Fridays in the LRH lobby."
Springfest committee is also asking students to submit original logo designs
that incorporate this year’s theme – "Brought to You
Since ‘92" – that can be used on t-shirts and flyers.
The deadline to submit artwork is 4 p.m. Thursday. Entries should be e-mailed
Ward added that there are openings
in a variety of roles. "The committee has lots of fun and exciting
positions to offer," he said, "from dance planning to rules,
even volunteering to referee some football or sand volleyball games."
All UIS students and staff are encouraged
to participate in Springfest, not just LRH or other on-campus residents.
"One thing we really want see this year is more ‘non-traditional’
student involvement," Ward said. "Commuter students are encouraged
to get teams together as well. It’s [their] student fees hard at
work – [they should] get some use out of it."
Kelly Beyer, a senior business management
major, said she has never participated in Springfest before but plans
to this year. "I always hear everyone talking about it and saying
how much fun it is," Beyer said. "And, since this is my last
year here, I figure I should probably [participate]."
Beyer also said she plans on spreading
her enthusiasm. "I’m going to try and get my friends involved
too," she said. "I don’t think many of them realize that
this will be our last chance to do something like this."
As Ward said, any UIS student can
form or join a team, which can be comprised of seven to 12 members, by
completing a sign-up sheet at the Student Life Building. Extra points
will be awarded to those teams featuring UIS staff or alumni. Sign-up
forms are not yet available but the registration deadline is March 9.
Any questions regarding Springfest should be directed to Cynthia Thompson
in SLB 22 at 206-6665.
by Tom Cronin
24, 4:02 p.m. – An officer was dispatched to an office on the fourth
floor of the Public Affairs Center to take a report of a stolen tan couch.
Jan. 25, 12:10 a.m. – Officers were dispatched to Bluebell Court
to assist a resident who was having an asthma attack. The officers provided
first aid until emergency medical personnel arrived. The patient was transported
to St. John’s Hospital by ambulance.
Jan. 25, 6:15 a.m. – Officers were dispatched to Marigold Court
to assist a resident who was complaining of heart-attack symptoms. The
officers provided first aid until emergency medical personnel arrived.
The patient was transported to St. John’s Hospital by ambulance.
Jan. 25, 1:20 p.m. – A report was taken in regards to a dispute
on Jan. 24.
Jan. 29, 12:47 a.m. – While officers were responding to a fire alarm
in Pennyroyal Court, they noticed a large gathering outside of an apartment.
After questioning the partygoers, several were charged with illegal consumption
Jan. 29, 1:30 a.m. – After receiving a call from a resident assistant
reporting an underage party with alcohol in Foxglove Court, officers were
dispatched. Several subjects were charged with illegal consumption of
Jan. 29, 1:30 a.m. – A subject was charged with battery in relation
to the report of illegal consumption of alcohol in Foxglove Court.
The Police Beat is
a compilation of brief summaries of selected UIS Police reports. To read
the complete list of report summaries, visit www.uis.edu/police/.