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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 25, 2007

800 teachers from throughout Illinois rally in support of increasing state funding for colleges and universities
Governor's Tax Fairness Plan will allow state to invest $300 million in higher education through next four years; schools to build and renovate facilities with over $600 million in much-needed capital projects

SPRINGFIELD – More than 800 teachers today rallied in Springfield support of legislative efforts to provide new state funding for the state’s beleaguered colleges and universities.  At the rally, Judy Erwin, Executive Director of the Board of Higher Education, highlighted Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s Investing in Families plan that will provide $300 million in new support for the state’s community colleges and universities over the next four years.
 
Representatives from the Illinois Education Association, the Illinois Federation of Teachers, SEIU and AFSCME joined together to call on lawmakers to provide much-needed support for Illinois’ higher education system.  These investments would be made possible through the Governor’s Tax Fairness Plan that will usher in a sweeping transformation of the state’s tax system that would shift the tax burden away from individuals, who have been carrying an increasing share of the burden over the past thirty years, to large businesses, which have paid little to no income tax. 
 
“By investing in education, we are investing in people and a bright future for our state, and when we increase support for our universities and community colleges we are helping our young adults get ahead and providing opportunities for others to advance in their careers.  Education is the pathway to achieving the American dream, and now it’s time to fix the loophole-riddled, broken corporate income tax system that is holding Illinois back,” said Gov. Blagojevich.  “In a global economy, our state’s future depends on an educated workforce, and this is the investment needed to make sure Illinois businesses have access to qualified workers.”
 
“It’s gratifying that today the entire higher education community is together under the same tent rallying in support of our colleges and universities,” said IEA President Ken Swanson.  “Our schools must have the resources to compete with those in other states if we are to keep the best and brightest students and professors in Illinois. The Governor’s plan would help hold down tuition costs and ensure that our schools can afford to maintain and enhance current programs.” 
 
Through the Governor’s Tax Fairness Plan, the state would have a solid, dependable revenue stream moving forward to support higher education in Illinois to:
  • Invest $300 million in the state’s universities, community colleges and higher education system over the next four years;
  • Launch over $600 million in capital improvements on college campuses with building renovation and construction projects that will strengthen programs and enhance the learning environments for student and teachers (projects listed below);
  • Increase access to financial aid for low- and middle-income students with $7.3 million in increased funding of MAP;
  • Provide $7.6 million to community colleges and universities to support education priorities in the areas of teacher preparation and healthcare programs;
  • Increase support for community colleges by nearly $6 million, which includes $3 million for the base college grant program;
  • Continue to address the national nursing shortage with $6 million investment with $3 million allocated to educating and retaining nurses throughout the state and $3 million for the Nurse Educator Loan Repayment Program that provides $5,000 annual grants to nurse educators.
Additional statewide projects that would build new or existing facilities at public universities total over $600 million.  Specific projects include:
 
Chicago State University:
  • For renovating Douglas Hall: $18,000,000
  • For planning and beginning new Westside Campus: $10,000,000
Governor’s State University:
  • For replacing roadways and sidewalks: $1,950,000
Illinois State University:
  • For renovations of the Fine Arts Complex: $44,400,000
Northeastern Illinois University:
  • For constructing an education building: $59,329,000
Northern Illinois University:
  • For renovating and expanding Stevens Building: $19,190,600
Eastern Illinois University:
  • For purchase of equipment to complete the renovation and expansion of Doudna Fine Arts Center: $1,500,000
Southern Illinois University - Carbondale:
  • For constructing a Transportation and Education Center, in addition to funds previously appropriated: $43,811,600
  • For purchase of equipment to complete the expansion and renovation of Morris Library: $6,000,000
Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville:
  • For renovating and constructing a Science Laboratory, in addition to funds previously appropriated: $69,517,600
University of Illinois - Chicago:
  • For upgrading campus infrastructure and renovating campus buildings: $19,700,000
University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign:
  • For renovating Lincoln Hall, in addition to funds previously appropriated: $55,100,000
  • For constructing a Post Harvest Crop Research Laboratory, in addition to funds previously appropriated: $16,910,000
  • For constructing an Electrical and Computer Engineering Building, in addition to funds previously appropriated: $42,000,000
University of Illinois - Rockford:
  • For constructing a National Rural Health Center: $14,250,000
Western Illinois University - Macomb:
  • For constructing a Performing Arts Center, in addition to funds previously appropriated: $57,825,100
Western Illinois University - Quad City Campus:
  • For renovation and construction of Riverfront Campus, in addition to funds previously appropriated: $14,232,500
Capital funding to improve existing infrastructure known as “Capital Renewal” would total $30 million, and be provided at universities at the following levels:
  • Chicago State University: $483,100
  • Eastern Illinois University: $773,300
  • Governors State University: $284,600
  • Illinois State University: $1,532,000
  • Northeastern Illinois University: $575,500
  • Northern Illinois University: $1,738,500
  • Western Illinois University: $1,188,300
  • Southern Illinois University- Carbondale: $2,437,500
  • Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville: $1,144,600
  • University of Illinois- Chicago: $4,165,900
  • University of Illinois- Springfield: $343,700
  • University of Illinois- Urbana-Champaign: $6,225,400
  • Illinois Community College Board: $59,107,600


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