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Faner Hall | SIU Carbondale campus

Faner Hall was completed in 1975 and highlights the architectural designs of the '60s and '70s.

CARBONDALE – Randy Dunn, president of the Southern Illinois University system, is asking staffers at the system’s three campuses to find ways to cover a potential loss of $49 million in state support.

That sum includes $40 million in cuts recommended by Gov. Bruce Rauner in his fiscal year 2017 budget proposal, more than $1 million in reduced revenue if a proposed change to state performance-based funding passes muster with lawmakers and several million in anticipated lost funds from a proposed transfer of pension burden from the state to the university, among other things. University officials do not yet know the financial impact of the proposed pension change.

If the cuts are enacted, the Carbondale campus will take a $25.4 million hit.

Dunn announced the cuts in an e-mail message to staffers on Wednesday – two days after he met with SIU budget officials in Edwardsville to chart a course forward.

“SIU -- along with almost every other state university -- is now in full-on fiscal triage mode,” Dunn said in the e-mail.

Dunn also is asking staffers to pull together a list of possible cuts that, while “supporting as many academic programs as feasible and ensuring critical student services,” would allow each campus to function without any state funding through Dec. 31, assuming no budget deal for FY16 or FY17 is met before then.

This would be SIU’s second round of cuts this school year. In September, the Carbondale campus absorbed $13.5 million in cuts and layoffs in anticipation of reduced funding during the 2016 fiscal year.

Dunn said specific cuts will be announced within the next few weeks, as university officials prepare to give testimony in Springfield on the potential impact of state funding reductions.

Thanks to budget stalemate in Springfield, Illinois’s public colleges and universities have gone without state funding since June.




Sarah Graham is a reporter for The Southern Illinoisan covering higher education and Union County.

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