State funding problems lead to cuts, tuition increase
Like other community colleges throughout the state, Rend Lake College is experiencing a financial crisis, the result of the state's well-documented inability to meet its financial obligations. The state of Illinois provides quarterly payments of base operating and equalization funds to RLC; the state currently is behind on one of those quarterly payments, an amount of approximately $2.2 million.

According to information college officials recently received from the Illinois Community College Board, the severity of the problem likely will increase because the third- and fourth-quarter payments for this fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2010, most likely will not be received. These two payments total about $4.4 million, and this would be in addition to the $2.2 million payment that is currently owed to the college. RLC receives about 40 percent of its funding from the state.

Rend Lake College President Charley Holstein said that to deal with this unexpected potential loss of budgeted revenues, the college has considered and implemented drastic measures. These include a hiring chill, departmental budget cuts, suspension of planned projects, non-replacement of staff positions, eliminating or reducing functions and services, reduction of athletic travel and reducing hours of operations at some campus facilities. Holstein said college officials will continue to look at all programs and positions for further cuts in an attempt to deal with the potential loss of more than $6 million in state funding.

This situation led to the decision to raise the in-district tuition rate to $85, an increase of $6 per credit hour, effective with the Summer 2010 term. The RLC Board of Trustees approved the action at Tuesday's meeting. The increase will allow RLC to remain competitive with its peer schools and maintain its stature as one of the most affordable community colleges in the state. Holstein said this is the first action that the college has taken, in dealing with this situation, that directly affects students. "This was a painful decision," Holstein said of the tuition increase.

Dr. Donald Mitchell tenders resignation from Board of Trustees
The board accepted with regret Tuesday the resignation of Dr. Donald Mitchell from the Board of Trustees. Mitchell worked as a physician in Hamilton County before retiring after 40 years, and was elected to the RLC Board in April 2009. More details are forthcoming.

Maines to continue teaching
Continued to employ Stephanie Maines as a temporary full-time Associate Degree Nursing Instructor for the Spring 2010 semester.

Sudlow joins RLCF Children's Center staff
Employed Emily Sudlow as Lead Child Care Provider at the Rend Lake College Foundation Children's Center effective Jan. 13. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Early Childhood Education from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Hampsey, Gravatt moving on
Accepted with regret the resignations of Gretchen Hampsey, Coordinator of Special Projects, effective March 15, 2010, and Tomi Gravatt, Job Preparedness Instructor at the Du Quoin Impact Incarceration Center, effective Dec. 31, 2009.

"It has been a great pleasure to work with you all during the past six years and I appreciate all of the opportunities extended to me," Hampsey wrote in her letter of resignation.

Gravatt said she has enjoyed her role with RLC and the Illinois Department of Corrections and is leaving to advance her career.

In other business, the board ...
• Approved changes to board policy and procedure regarding stipends (second reading), employer-provided property as taxable fringe benefits (second reading), dress code (first reading) and fees.

Mark your calendars …
• RLC Homecoming, Wednesday, Feb. 24, women's and men's basketball games, dance, RLC Gymnasium.

• RLC Spring Musical, "Cabaret," 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, March 4-6; 2 p.m. Sunday, March 7; RLC Theatre.

• Great Collaborators Concert, 7 p.m. Thursday, March 25, RLC Theatre.

• RLC Spring Concert, 7 p.m. Thursday, April 22, RLC Theatre.

• Commencement, Friday, May 14, RLC Gymnasium.

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