SIU to cut 30 jobs, some summer classes to fill budget hole

Thursday, February 14, 2002

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University will cut 30 jobs, mostly among maintenance workers, and some summer classes to help fill a $7.4 million budget gap this year, Chancellor Walter Wendler said Wednesday.

The university will also consider raising tuition starting in the fall 2003 to help the school's finances in the future, he said.

In the meantime, school officials will leave some vacant administrative positions open and delay purchases to help fill the hole in this year's budget, Wendler said.

No faculty jobs will be eliminated, and no summer courses that students need to graduate will get the ax, he said.

"This is very serious and we are aware that it is painful," Wendler said. "But the reality is this $7.4 million must be accounted for in the next four months," he said.

The school's budget shortfall has grown since November, when Gov. George Ryan asked Illinois' colleges and universities to absorb $25 million of $500 million in budget cuts statewide. SIU's share of that was $1.5 million.

Then SIU officials learned they must cut $3.7 million to cover a shortfall in the state employees' health insurance fund.

SIU must also come up with $730,000 for salary increases this year that had been committed previously, officials said, as well as grapple with a $1.5 million drop in expected tuition due to a 4 percent slip in enrollment last fall.

An emergency reserve fund has helped ease the pain, but even after that is accounted for, SIU officials say they are left with a $7.4 million budget hole to fill.

"It's just like your household checking account," Wendler said. "You have to deal with the money that's there, not what you'd like your balance to be."

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