ICCTA Action Alert
April 17, 2003

The following legislative update was prepared by the Illinois Community College Board.

Community College System District Allocations of
Gov. Blagojevich's FY 2004 Budget

On April 9th the Illinois Community College Board provided the community college system with information relative to Governor Blagojevich's fiscal year 2004 budget. The ICCB is supportive of the Governor's budget. As the Governor said in his budget address: "So let me say at the outset, there will be some things in this budget that you won't like." As the Governor predicted, the ICCB has some concerns and questions regarding the Governor's budget.

However, before we address the fiscal year 2004 budget, we would again like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to Governor Blagojevich for releasing virtually all of the fiscal year 2003 budgetary reserves and making available these funds for the remainder of the current fiscal year. This important action certainly has had a significant impact upon the entire community college system.

Now for fiscal year 2004. First, as anticipated the Governor's budget does not address the recommended changes to the community college system funding formula. This issue has yet to reach his desk. No funds for the "hold harmless" provision of funding task force recommendations have been provided in the Governor's budget. Therefore, the allocation of the Credit Hour component of the Base Operating Grant has been prepared at this point utilizing the traditional funding methodology. The ICCB will continue working with the General Assembly in an effort to make available the "hold harmless" funds in order to be able to implement the funding task force's recommendations.

Second, the ICCB has questions as to how the new Central Management Services (CMS) Education Technology Initiative will be administered. As you are aware, funds were removed from the ICCB, Illinois Board of Higher Education, and Illinois State Board of Education budgets to create the Education Technology Initiative. It is our understanding that $7.9 million is allocated to this project in the CMS budget. It is our desire to ensure that community colleges have appropriate access to these funds. We will continue to update the system as we learn additional information.

In addition, the ICCB has been in dialogue with the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) concerning the transfer of the Current Workforce Training Grants to DCEO. It is our understanding that $2.3 million is included in the DCEO fiscal year 2004 budget for this purpose. Preliminary discussions with DCEO have been positive relative to community colleges being able to continue to access these funds and provide important training services to local business and industry.

Both the Chairs of ICCB and IBHE have indicated an interest in investigating the possibility of obtaining some additional funds that would address the issues surrounding serving special needs students. However, it should be kept in mind that the Governor has said that to increase funding in one area will necessitate reducing funding in another.

The ICCB will continue to work with the Office of the Governor and the General Assembly to obtain the most favorable result possible for the community college system in these troubled financial times.

Community college system summary information and individual district allocations of the Governor's fiscal year 2004 budget are available at: www.iccb.state.il.us/HTML/pdf/sysfin/fy04govopbudgetrecom.pdf

For additional information on state legislative issues, contact ICCTA at 1-800-454-2282.

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Illinois Community College Trustees Association
401 E. Capitol Ave., Suite 200
Springfield, IL 62701-1711
217-528-2858 (phone)
217-528-8662 (fax)
ICCTA@communitycolleges.org (e-mail)

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