It could have been worse. That’s probably the best and easiest way to describe the budget climate at Illinois State, as the University moves from one fiscal year to the next. On the positive side, Interim President Al Bowman announced that despite state budget woes, good planning will allow Illinois State to make modest pay raises available to faculty and staff members. Keeping salaries competitive is a top priority for the University and Dr. Bowman is certainly walking the talk. The General Assembly also authorized Illinois State to spend more than $22 million to make infrastructure improvements to Stevenson and Turner Halls. Both buildings will receive wiring and technology upgrades as well as new fire alarm systems.

Still, legislators cut another $7.2 million from the University’s budget. Since 2000, Illinois State has lost more than 17 percent of its state funding. That means an eight-month-old hiring freeze will continue. As of today, the University has 171 fewer employees than last year at this time, since non-faculty employees who retire and resign are not being replaced. Class sizes are a bit larger and some support services are also being curtailed. Full details on Illinois State’s budget situation are available at the University’s Media Relations budget update Web page.