The Daily Illini

Editorial: LAS budget cuts foreshadows gloomy future

By The Daily Illini Editorial Board

Recently, the college of Liberal Arts and Sciences asked every unit within the college to cut 5 percent of their budgets, due to the uncertainty of the state budget (which will negatively affect our university’s budget as well).

The Division of Information Management reports that 90.3 percent of the LAS budget cannot be changed because it accounts for faculty and staff salary. While it’s reassuring that salaries aren’t in jeopardy, it leaves that remaining 9.7 percent — the money allotted for our education — at even greater risk of being reduced.

We understand there is still no state budget. With every day we go without one, the uncertainty for our state and our school only continues to rise. We understand that cuts will inevitably need to be made for all programs at the University. However, cutting 5 percent of every LAS unit is going to be detrimental to those students’ education down the road.

Further, this only brings up more questions for the University’s other colleges going forward. Without a state budget, more units and colleges will be forced to scale back as much as possible to avoid a larger crisis and it’s unfortunate that our education is on the line, and nothing can be done to compromise with salaries instead.

On Monday, Illinois reached 153 days without a state budget. As the University continues to operate without any idea of state funding allocations, our options continue to shrink. The longer we forge ahead without a budget, the greater the likelihood of cuts become. If state funding to the University needs to be cut, so be it. But do it soon.

Rather than hemming and hawing about a decision, make a decision, and make it with students and the future in mind. The back and forth in the government is hurting our statewide programs — especially our state universities that are intended to serve and educate the people of Illinois.

The cuts to LAS are disappointing and representative of a larger issue. Cuts to LAS could indicate more cuts across the board. And the University is not the only higher education institution in Illinois. There are nine public colleges in Illinois, all of which expect and need state funding.

Each of these institutions is waiting on a budget decision that will impact the programs and the quality of education offered. Although any cuts will certainly be hard to handle, knowing what they are is better than the current uncertainty.

The state is currently going on five months without a budget, six months — half of the fiscal year — should be avoided at all costs. A state budget decision will allow colleges to plan accurately, instead of planning preemptively.

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