Gov. Rauner vetoes MAP grant bill

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Gov. Rauner vetoes MAP grant bill

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Lucas Koprowski, News Editor

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This past Friday, Feb. 19, Rauner vetoed Senate bill 2043, a legislation that would have appropriated $721 million to fund Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants and community college and state universities. This puts a strain on many schools in both funding of their programs and paying for student’s MAP grant. For instance, Chicago State University, who have released that they will be unable to pay their employees come March.

           

Rauner’s reason for not passing the bill was that he the Illinois General Assembly did not put forth a plan to fund the multi-million dollar bill.

 

“Despite its constitutional obligation to balance the budget, the General Assembly has not put forward a plan to pay for these programs, whether through spending reductions, revenue, or cost-saving reforms,” said Rauner. “The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget concluded that Senate Bill 2043 would add $721 million to the State’s budget deficit. Today, the Comptroller reports 48,000 vendor vouchers waiting to be paid, a $7.2 billion backlog of bills, and a grand total balance of $145 million in the general funds. This bill would spend money the State does not have.”

 

Although many colleges across the state may have to cut programs to help fund the grant on their campuses, Illinois Community College Board representative and Student Leadership Council member Stephanie Torres believes that the college will be able to pay for the program for the near future, but is worrisome if the state government comes to a budgetary agreement.

 

“COD has been somewhat fortunate in terms of MAP grants, because although we do rely on the state we do not rely as heavily as other community colleges do,” said Torres. “But at some point, the College of DuPage can’t continue covering MAP for all students. At an ICCB meetings, a member said that 50 percent of community colleges have had to cut back on something as of now. A lot of the time, it is adult education. It’s unfortunate to see those go, and once those programs are eliminated it is difficult to come back due to the competitive process to be reinstated.”

 

Acting Interim President of COD Joseph Collins believes the college may need to pull extra funding, as without MAP grants, financial aid will come directly from the college. “The foundation has agreed to help out in terms of any kind of emergencies that come up,” said Collins. “We do have an emergency fund for worst case scenario. Other schools aren’t in as good of a financial position as we are, and are turning students away because they don’t have the map funding. Our approach at COD so far is that since we’ve got a stronger fund balance, we are going to cover the cost of MAP funding until we know more about it.”

 

State-wide layoffs and cutbacks have been occurring since the beginning of the year. Starting in January with Western Illinois University having to fire 30 teachers. Kishwaukee Community College has halted hiring and asked faculty not to travel. As well as stated above, Chicago State will not be able to pay its bills come March 1.

 

Although Rauner has vetoed bill SB 2043, he has endorsed legislation that has been estimated to save districts over $200 million by easing requirements on schools to offer services, like drivers education, physical education and contracting relief. For instance, HB 6164, currently being processed through the house, provides more contracting options for non-instructional services and option to contract out drivers education to a third party for high schools.

 

Providing districts with this relief costs taxpayers absolutely nothing, but will save districts millions,” Rauner said. “By freeing districts from these costly mandates, schools will have more flexibility to invest their resources in classrooms and teachers. It’s a win for students, parents, districts and taxpayers.”

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