The schools are owed $630.3 million in late state payments as of
Thursday, according to the Illinois comptroller's office. But
legislation sent to Quinn in mid-May allowing the universities to
borrow to make payroll has yet to be signed into law, as the end of
the fiscal year approaches on June 30.
Quinn last week said he
would address the measure "promptly," but he noted that his focus
remains on the plan to borrow $4 billion to fund the state's five
public employee pension systems. The House passed the pension plan,
but the Senate didn't consider the proposal since it couldn't garner
enough "yes" votes, skipping town to return later this summer.
The action -- or lack of it -- has apparently left the university
borrowing bill in limbo, although a Quinn spokeswoman noted the
governor is still within the constitutional timetable.
"We do have 60 days to review the bill," said Annie Thompson.
"The governor has been pretty strong in the past in his support for
Senate Bill 642 allows universities to borrow up to 75 percent
of payroll and other expenses left unpaid by the state for fiscal
2010. University officials must repay the line of credit within a
year, or 10 days following the receipt of state payment of the
The University of Illinois ranks first in the "owed" list at
$366.5 million, with Southern Illinois University coming in second
at $106.5 million.
SIU officials have instituted a hiring freeze and increased fees
by 2 percent, and have said they will not increase tuition. They
also have yet to consider layoffs or unpaid furlough days.
That may change by the end of the month. Unionized faculty and
civil service staff make up 4,000 of the school's approximately
5,000 full-time workers -- and the contracts of 3,000 of those union
members expire June 30.
"Everyone knows layoffs and furloughs are on the table," said SIU
spokesman Rod Sievers. "We're all rowing the same boat."
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The state's flagship university, with three campuses in
Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield, has already implemented
furlough days, as well as a hiring freeze. University of Illinois
trustees last month approved a 9.5 percent tuition increase for new
students this fall, and the trustees hope they won't be forced to
use the proposed borrowing legislation.
"Our people have talked to the (governor's) budget director, but
we have no indication when the governor would sign it, if he would,"
said U of I spokesman Mike Lillich.
Universities, school districts, social service agencies and other
state vendors have been forced to scrimp and sometimes pink-slip
employees as state officials have drawn out payments in an effort to
cope with a nerve-racking $13 billion budget deficit. Universities
have more options than others, however, since they can raise tuition
and fees and look to endowments.
The comptroller's office has done what it could to keep the
"We're continuing to work with them as we have throughout the
fiscal year," said spokeswoman Carol Knowles.
The following list from the comptroller's office details the
amounts the state owes the universities:
Illinois, $366.5 million
University, $106.5 million
University, $43.1 million
University, $38.6 million
University, $21.1 million
University, $19.5 million
University, $14.1 million
University, $13.8 million
University, $7.1 million
Statehouse News; By MARY MASSINGALE]