July 1, 2015

 

Dear colleagues:

As you know, Illinois begins the 2016 fiscal year today with no agreement on a new state budget. There appears to have been little movement in the impasse since I last updated you three weeks ago, but I want to again assure you that the University is committed to protecting both our long- and short-term interests as negotiations continue in Springfield.

For the short term, we have positioned ourselves to maintain operations and will continue to pay employees and vendors. Unlike agencies that are almost solely reliant on state funding, the University also receives revenue from other sources, which will be used appropriately and will help us weather this temporary interruption in state support. We also will continue to receive additional funding to meet our near-term obligations as the state pays the $114 million remaining on the University’s appropriation for the 2015 fiscal year that ended June 30. We expect those payments to continue into fiscal 2016.

Due to the uncertainty, however, consideration of a salary program for the coming year is on hold and will be revisited once a budget is approved.

For the longer term, we continue to advocate for adequate and responsible levels of future state funding that will preserve our excellence and maintain our service to our students and the state.

Our efforts in this regard have been vigorous and ongoing since the budget process began. I added to them with a message to the governor last week that highlights the University’s more than $10 billion annual impact on the state’s economy and the power it holds to produce the human capital and innovation that will lead Illinois forward.

I am confident that our message strikes a chord. Though the governor vetoed nearly all of a proposed state budget sent to him by the legislature, he did approve a funding increase for K-12 education. Public universities are part and parcel of the same purpose – to develop the highly skilled workforce that is critical for success in the 21st century.

In the meantime, we continue to examine our operations from top to bottom so that we are prepared to respond to the level of funding that is ultimately approved by the state.

I trust that the budget stalemate will be resolved to provide a much-needed sense of stability. Let us focus, though, on the job at hand, as we prepare to kick off the fall semester next month and welcome what we anticipate will be the largest-ever student enrollment on our three great campuses!

Thank you again for your commitment to the University of Illinois. Please enjoy your Independence Day weekend, and I will provide further updates as the budget process unfolds.

Sincerely,

Tim Killeen
President