The entrance sign at John A. Logan College welcomes guests and students to campus.

The Southern File Photo

This article has been updated to correct Scott Elliott's last name. The correct percent increase in total operating fund expenditures was also corrected to 0.6 percent; an earlier version incorrectly said it was .06. 

CARTERVILLE — The John A. Logan College Board of Trustees met Tuesday night to discuss the state of the College and hear preliminary comments on the proposed budget for the new fiscal year. 

Board Chairman Bill Kilquist opened the meeting by exercising his right to appoint committees and committee members. He said that since the last meeting, he has had phone calls and email from other board members, and based on their feedback, eliminated several committees.

Committees for the Awards and Naming Facilities, Illinois Community College Trustees Association, and John A. College Foundation would now report by representative to the BOT. The Diversity Committee was also dissolved and Dean for Instructional Services Melanie Pecord was appointed as the college contact.

After these administrative changes were agreed upon, foremost in the discussion was the proposed budget.

Cheryl Graff, BOT Vice-Chair and Chair of the Budget Committee noted that it was extremely hard to make predictions about the level of state funding in the face of the continuing budget impasse.

“However, if we look at past data, we know that it has been about 40 percent of the 2015 budget,” she said.

Glenn Poshard, Vice-Chair of the Budget Committee said that he has been keeping track of the numbers with regard to the "grand bargain" coming out of the State, and that they are still predicting a 10 percent decrease in funding for higher education.

Brad McCormick, CFO for the College, confirmed that figure was in measurement against the 2015 budget. Legal Counsel for the BOT cautioned the board that the state budget has a long way to go before it was signed into law.

McCormick said that in 17 years as CFO this has been the most unusual budget preparation he has ever been through, but cited the strength of his staff and their commitment to the budget process.

“You wouldn’t believe the work these people are doing," McCormick said. "They are providing a level of detail that goes above and beyond what we are asking from them.”

He acknowledged two “heavy lifters” for their help in putting together the budget. “Stacy Hancock and Scott Elliott, the Executive Director for Integrated Technology, are two are very talented people who put in long hours and should be very proud of the work they do.”

The budget before the board tonight was tentative, but McCormick said "There is a 0.6 percent increase in the total operating fund expenditures, that’s a little more than half a percent, and a 13.6 percent reduction in revenue compared to last year’s budget. And that is because we are targeting existing revenue at the 40 percent level mentioned by Vice-Chair Graff. “

McCormick said that if every dollar in the budget was spent that JALC would exhaust every reserve dollar they have with the exception of $14,250, and that this would be the third year the college would be drawing down their reserves. After that, there would be no reserves left.

He went on to say that in previous years there was very little adjustment between the tentative and legal budgets, but that this year that would not be the case. “I am sure there will be cuts, and I am hoping there will be additional revenues,” he said.

McCormick recommended that the college delay the final adoption of the budget until July, or perhaps later, in the hopes that the state would work something out. A public hearing will be scheduled before any final budget is voted on.

This article has been changed to reflect the Scott Elliott's  

JALC College President Ron House offered the counterpart to the budget's grim numbers, by summarizing the many accomplishments of the college in the last 12 months.

“About 14 months ago we regained full recognition of this college by the Illinois Community College Board. We had been on probationary status for a while but regained it last spring,” House said.

He also cited the approval received by the college from the Department of Homeland Security and Defense as a Center of Excellence. According to House there is only one other college in the state of Illinois that has received that approval.

According to House, JALC’s heating and air conditioning program was selected as one of the top 20 programs in the country. “It is also bursting at the seams with students which is both a blessing and a curse,” he said.

Other accomplishments include the online nursing program being selected as one of the top 20 online nursing programs in the country, and the only community college in the state to be selected in that category.

The college’s Dual Credit Program received accreditation and is one of two in the state to receive that accreditation,

The college also received a $437,000 grant from by the Harrison Bruce Foundation in Herrin to be used for major improvements in the college’s baseball and softball fields. This is one of the largest grants ever received by the college.

“All of these accomplishments are a result of the hard, professional work the faculty and staff of this college,” House said.

“Even in hard times, with no money, with painful staff reductions, with everybody cutting back, this college is moving forward. And I am proud of that and I am proud of the people that do the work to make that possible.”

Jake Rendleman detailed the upcoming June 16, Toby Concert which is a fundraiser in partnership with Black Diamond Harley in Marion. He said that Black Diamond Harley is financing the whole concert this year and that the college has no money invested.

With proper promotion, Rendleman estimated that the college would about $25K from the event. 


On Twitter: @barbeidlin


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