Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas has released a statement regarding the Illinois fiscal year 2019 budget. The new budget, which was signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner Monday, provides increased appropriated funding for education in the state.
According to Thomas, Western's allocation is $47.2 million for FY19. This is an increase of 2 percent from FY18.
"The state appropriated budget also provides level MAP funding," Thomas said. "In addition, $25 million has been allocated for a new institutional aid program to be divided between the public universities. The new FY19 state allocations also provide a $50,000 grant for the Gwendolyn Brooks Memorial Park on the site of the former Brooks Center (Adams Street), and the WIU Center for Performing Arts is under consideration ($89 million capital development funds), along with possible funding for capital improvements."
While Thomas said he is pleased with the news of the budget, he acknowledged that Western Illinois will still need to show fiscal restraint, due to factors that include declining enrollment.
"However, due to the projected decline in enrollment, along with contractual obligations and future budget-related uncertainties, and the continued impact of the previous years' budget impasse, we must continue to be fiscally conservative," Thomas said. "My leadership team and I will evaluate how state appropriations and enrollment will impact the University's overall budget, and we will consider all options that provide cost-savings."
Thomas concluded his statement by thanking WIU faculty for voting to ratify a new contract, and the members of of the UPI Local 4100 and University negotiation teams for reaching what he called a "sustainable agreement."