"In our public meetings, we heard loud and clear from our clientele
how much they value Extension programming and our local presence,"
said Robert Hoeft, interim director of U of I Extension. "This new
plan will maintain a local presence in every county."
He says the
restructuring addresses financial constraints, but also provides for
a continuation of what Extension is known for -- research-based,
high-impact programs meeting changing societal and personal needs.
Extension's goal is to administer local county programming from
30 units of at least three but not more than five counties, reducing
the number of county director positions by 46, which will make funds
available to support programs. In anticipating the restructuring,
Extension has held open many county director positions, so the
actual number of people affected by these cuts will be far fewer
Cook County will remain as a single-county program.
The minimum staffing for the proposed units will consist of a
county director, a unit secretary, three educators and a position to
Furthermore, Extension plans to close several of its center
offices, which house Extension educators. The following centers will
close on or about June 30: Carbondale, Effingham, Matteson, Macomb
and Mount Vernon. The educators at these centers will be moved to
Remaining center facilities will be closed at the earliest
possible opportunity contingent upon lease terms. These locations
are in the Quad Cities, Rockford, Countryside, East Peoria,
Springfield, Champaign and Edwardsville.
Logan County Extension Director John Fulton said that currently
their are no plans in place for changes at the office located in
Lincoln. Fulton said that offices closed or consolidated were ones
that received only state funding while the Logan County office has
Decisions regarding civil service employees will be determined
after multi-county partnerships and program priorities have been
established. Furthermore, it is anticipated that the number of
educator and administrative positions will be reduced, too.
Extension has asked county directors to propose a unit
configuration by May 10. By May 19, Extension will notify county
directors of acceptance or change in the proposal. By June 10,
educators will be notified of their new office location. And by June
15, county directors will submit fiscal 2011 budgets.
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Gov. Pat Quinn proposed a state budget on March 10. Extension
funding was cut $5.56 million in this proposal, which is the first
step of what will be a very complicated budget process.
U of I Extension's fiscal 2009 budget is about $65 million,
supporting about 800 people of all job classifications, from the
director to secretarial staff in local offices as well as full- and
part-time staff. This budget comes from federal, state and local
levels: 18 percent federal, 21 percent local counties, 46 percent
state, and 15 percent grants and revenue-generating activities.
U of I Extension has a 90-year history of connecting the citizens
of Illinois to their land-grant university by providing educational
programming around the state. More than 260,000 youth participate
statewide in the popular 4-H program. There are more than 4,000
Extension Master Gardeners in the state. Extension also offers
educational programs in the areas of nutrition, family economics and
[Text from file received from