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March 12, 2003


SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Board of Higher Education will hold a hearing for university executives and other higher education leaders to detail the effects of cutting 8 percent of their annual operations budgets during the remainder of the fiscal year.

The Board will meet at 9 a.m. Monday, March 17, at the State of Illinois Center in Chicago to hear testimony from university presidents on the classroom consequences and other impacts of meeting the request of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich to set aside 8 percent of FY2003 appropriations for operations. In a special teleconference meeting held March 10, 2003, Board members requested additional detail regarding the effects of potential spending cuts in the current fiscal year. The Board asked to hear amplification of information contained in impact statements submitted to the Board of Higher Education and the Bureau of the Budget.

"The higher education community is ready to do its part in helping Governor Blagojevich and the General Assembly resolve the fiscal crisis facing the state," Steven H. Lesnik, Chairman of the Board, said. "To date, colleges and universities and higher education agencies have communicated their ability to place funds in reserve that falls short of the goal articulated by the Bureau of the Budget. Board members wish to determine what campus leaders believe the impact additional cuts would have on the quality of academic programs and on students."

The 8 percent reserve of FY2003 operations funding would total nearly $113 million across higher education institutions and agencies. "This total figure represents more than 30 percent of funds budgeted for the remaining three-and-a-half months of the fiscal year," Chairman Lesnik said.


Don Sevener



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