NORTH PARK — Northeastern Illinois University is tightening its belt even further — implementing furlough days for employees — as Springfield continues to withhold tens of millions of dollars in state appropriation funds due to budget gridlock.
The budget impasse is now in its ninth month, during which time NEIU has dipped into its reserves to pay its bills, but those dollars are running out.
"We anticipate that our tuition revenue and reserves will be diminishing to the point where we can't sustain operations through summer and into fall," NEIU President Sharon Hahs wrote in a message to faculty and staff.
As a cost-saving measure, Hahs announced that furloughs would take effect immediately for all "administrative and professional and non-negotiated employees."
Beginning March 14, the affected employees will be furloughed one day a week for an indeterminate length of time: "We will discontinue it when our state appropriation is received (assuming it will be adequate to meet this year's cash flow requirements)," Hahs wrote.
Spending and hiring freezes are also being enacted to "bridge operations" until the state's fiscal year 2016 appropriation comes through and fall tuition is collected.
"The decisions we are forced to make are incredibly difficult and certainly painful both economically and personally," Hahs said.
"This is an action that we all regret having to take, but for the sake of our students and Northeastern, it is a necessary one," Hahs concluded. "Working together, we will endure these unprecedented times."
The state is behind on $34 million in allocations to NEIU, along with $7.5 million in grant funds for students, which the university has fronted, according to university spokesman Mike Dizon.
At Chicago State University, administration canceled spring break in order to end its spring semester two weeks early and announced it would send layoff notices to all 800 faculty, staff and administrators if the impasse isn't resolved.
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