Illinois community colleges express disappointment
with Governor's budget address
February 21, 2008, SPRINGFIELD -- A coalition of Illinois community college supporters expressed disappointment today
that Gov. Rod Blagojevich's February 20 budget address failed to fund the state's community college system
adequately. The Governor's budget proposal again called for flat funding of the Illinois community college
system for fiscal year 2009.
The Community College Coalition for Funding held a news conference yesterday before the Governor's address
to urge him and the Illinois General Assembly to make Illinois community college a priority.
"The Governor's short and vague budget address left many of us with more questions than answers," said Kathy Wessel,
president of the Illinois Community College Trustees Association and a board member of the College of DuPage.
"We still feel that our state government should do more to support our public community college system," Wessel said.
Lesliefaye Gogins, a student at Prairie State College in Chicago Heights who also attended yesterday's news conference,
said, "I know of many students who cannot afford to keep paying the rising cost of tuition and therefore have had
to drop out of school and go back to work. Some students must work a semester to pay for a semester, just to continue
Student tuition has risen by almost 50 percent in the last 10 years, according to the Illinois Community College Board's
Data and Characteristics report.
"Until the state of Illinois lives up to it promise of supporting community colleges, and until the state pays our
community colleges for the students that enter our classrooms, and until Illinois lives up to its part of the bargain,
our students will bear the cost of Illinois' lack of funding," said Terry Bruce, president of the Illinois Presidents
Council and chief executive officer of the Illinois Eastern Community College District.
Another participant in yesterday's news conference questioned the lack of vision that Illinois is exhibiting in not
giving community colleges the tools that they need to educate the state's future leaders and workers.
"Investing in Illinois community colleges is an investment in Illinois," said Perry Buckley, president of the Cook
County College Teachers Union. "When brilliant students like LeslieFaye Gogins are forced to choose whether to
continue their education or go back to work fulltime, the state's lack of support is an American tragedy."
The Coalition will continue to press its fight to make Illinois community colleges a priority this entire
Illinois Community College Trustees Association|
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Springfield, IL 62701-1711
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