Bills would split SIU campuses, provide equal funding

Bills calling for equal funding or a total split of the SIU Edwardsville and Carbondale campuses have been introduced in the legislature.

The bills were introduced in the past week, following Southern Illinois University’s board of trustees’ decision to strike down a proposal to equally split state funding between the Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses.

State Reps. Monica Bristow, D-Godfrey, LaToya Greenwood, D-East St. Louis, Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, and Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, have introduced a package of legislation.

They released the following statement:

“Southern Illinois University Edwardsville campuses have proven to be a bright spot in the state public university system, and have moved forward despite the state’s budgetary challenges. With the student populations at Edwardsville and Carbondale now so close in size, the only thing that makes sense is to ensure that both campuses receive equal funding.

“The Board of Trustees recently made the decision to strike down a fairer funding proposal, showing that Edwardsville and Carbondale would continue to receive disproportional funds. We are responding with legislative proposals that would ensure equal funding for both schools, rather than giving preference to one over the other.

SIU trustees last week voted down a proposal to shift $5.1 million in state funding from the Carbondale campus to the Edwardsville campus to reflect enrollment changes.

SIU system President Randy Dunn’s spokesman has said system staff will be analyzing the legislation.

The bill has opposition from other lawmakers, including Republican state Sen. Paul Schimpf of Waterloo who says both schools are better positioned when they “remain part of a combined system.”

One of the bills, HB 5861, calls for abolishing the board that oversees both campuses and creating individual boards over each.

Here is 5861’s details:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocTypeID=HB&DocNum=5861&GAID=14&SessionID=91&LegID=112379

The joint legislators’ statement goes on:

“It is time for the leadership of Southern Illinois University to accept the reality of the situation. Although the Southern Illinois University system has endured a successful partnership over the years, the current climate in higher education indicates the need for independence. Due to the changing financial needs of the two schools, we believe that the successful and smooth transition between Carbondale and Edwardsville is necessary to allow them to receive state funds equally.”

 

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