Chicago State: Without budget, prepare for drastic cuts

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago State University is telling students and staff to prepare for drastic cuts as funding from the state, which is still without a budget, dries up.

The university has no plans to close, but is planning to begin laying off 50 percent of its workforce due to the budget impasse in Springfield.

"It's never too late," says Angela Bailey, CSU student.

Bailey is just one more semester away from achieving a life-long dream.

"It seems like at the last moment, when I am about to graduate, when all of this havoc, they're wreaking this havoc with the budget," she says. "It's scary and it shouldn't be that way."

With no state funding, Chicago State University could begin cutting hundreds of jobs on April 30. The university put employees on notice to get ready to turn over their keys. Frank McKnight has worked at the university as faculty for nearly 20 years.

"It's very difficult with the uncertainty of it all, but I think we are still focused on getting the job done," McKnight says.

"I am profoundly shocked, quite frankly, at the apparent willingness to suffocate higher education in the state of Illinois," says CSU President Dr. Thomas Calhoun.

The governor and the legislature have been at odds for months on a budget.

"My sense is, the desire of the leadership and the supermajority is 'no reforms, let's force a tax hike,'" said Gov. Bruce Rauner.

"They deserve for state to do its job to pass a budget that includes MAP funding so they can get their degrees and go on and be contributors to our society," said State Rep. Chris Welch (D-7).

The political game of chess leaves students in limbo.

"It is kind of depressing because it is not encouraging for incoming freshmen or high school seniors that are graduating from high school who want to come to Chicago State," says Tazane Dixon, student.

Chicago State faculty and students plan to rally on campus Friday to keep the pressure on Springfield.

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