Administrators at Heartland Community College are preparing a strategic budgeting process that calls for the college to dip into reserves only if state funding completely dries up and even then, not for a couple more years.
During a presentation to Heartland's Board of Trustees Tuesday, Vice President for Business Services Doug Minter said the college is well-prepared for a state-budget worst case scenario, where no funds are given over several years. He credits wise financial investing and careful planning. But Heartland President Rob Widmer said it hasn't come without a cost.
"We're not investing in our employees in terms of their development. We're not investing in maintaining our facilities, our equipment and replacement of things that need to be replaced. All of those things over time will add up and will put us in a position that is detrimental to the organization, to our students and to our public community," Widmer said.
Heartland received an AA+ rating from Standard and Poor's earlier this year and is also in good standing with Moody's.
Minter said state funding is so unreliable, even when money does finally arrive on campus, it sometimes has to be returned because it can't be used. He said that happened a year ago when cuts were made to an adult education program, and then funding came in on the last day of the fiscal year.
"There was roughly $35,000 that we had to send back to the state, which I consider quite ironic. But, not only did they give us the money late, then it was too late for us to say, 'Ok well, we could have used it for this particular purpose to benefit the students,'" Minter said.
Widmer said Heartland intends to present a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2018. He said that will be previewed likely in June and submitted for approval in September.
WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.