State Issues of Special Interest
to Illinois Community Colleges

Prepared for ICCTA's April 30, 2003 Lobby Day

Illinois trustees are interested in discussing 2 policy and funding issues that affect community colleges:


The major issue for this year's session of the Illinois General Assembly is the budget.

The State of Illinois faces the second consecutive year of declining revenues available for spending on state-supported programs such as education. State tax receipts in Fiscal Year 2004 are expected to result in an accumulated deficit of about $5 billion. On April 9, 2003, Gov. Rod Blagojevich delivered his budget to the Illinois General Assembly. His budget would reduce spending for numerous state agencies while providing as much support for education as is possible. Nevertheless, the Governor's FY 04 budget for all of higher education is $104.6 million below what it was in FY 03.

The community college budget is reduced by $17 million, or 5.6% below what it was in FY 03, and 7% below FY 02 levels after program transfers are considered. The Governor's budget transfers Advanced Technology Grants ($12.5 million in FY 03) from the Illinois Community College Board to the Illinois Department of Central Management Services. It also transfers the Workforce Training Grant ($4.2 million in FY 03) to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. No funds are provided to replace special, earmarked grants that totaled $12 million in FY 03.

Because we believe the Governor may have made the best of a bad situation, we recommend support for the Governor's Budget for FY 04.

The Illinois community college system recently approved a new funding formula for the distribution of state funds to the 39 community college districts. Under the new formula, state funds could be allocated differently to recognize changing enrollment patterns in adult education and English as a second language programs. To implement a funding formula change without harming a majority of our institutions, the community college system needs $8 million in additional funds.

Community colleges support the Governor's budget for FY 04 and request an additional $8 million for community college funding formula improvements.


Senate Bill 1586 will mandate that all closed meetings for all units of local government be recorded verbatim either by an audio or video recorder or by a court reporter.

The Illinois Community College Trustees Association OPPOSES Senate Bill 1586 because:

  • Requiring the recording of the entire closed session will unnaturally impede an open discussion and will adversely affect the public=s right to have its officials practically debate the merits and demerits of public decisions;

  • Closed meeting minutes can be released to the public once the public body believes the issue is safe to disclose. Often during a closed meeting, more than one issue will be discussed. The public body may release one issue while keeping the other issues disclosed. For this scenario, Senate Bill 1586 will cause additional troubles:

    -- Additional time and resources will be needed to edit an audio or video tape
    to be able to distribute the released information;

    -- It also increases the chances for private information (such as a name of a
    sexually harassed victim or a medical condition from an employee requesting
    a leave of absence) to be disclosed; and

  • Small units of local government will find this mandate expensive and cumbersome. It also seems like a use of unnecessary resources to record thousands of meetings to try to find a "smoking gun" where public officials stray from their statutory obligations;

  • Current law requires that action on any issue is strictly prohibited from being taken during any closed meeting;

  • The lack of verbatim record keeping, under this legislation, could lead to a prosecutor bringing action against the public body for violation of the Act. Current penalties for violation of the Act constitute a Class C misdemeanor.

    Illinois Municipal League
    Northwest Municipal Conference
    DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference
    Lake County Municipal League
    Townships Officials of Illinois
    South Suburban Mayors and Managers
    Metro Counties of Illinois
    Illinois Association of County Boards and Commissioners
    Illinois Association of Fire Protection Districts
    Illinois Fire Chiefs Association
    Will County Governmental League
    Northern Illinois Alliance of Fire Protection Districts

    For the tentative schedule for ICCTA's April 30, 2002 Lobby Day, please click here. If you have not yet registered for ICCTA Lobby Day, please call 1-800-454-2282 or click here.

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