Parkland plans on cuts to balance budget

By Anna Carrera

Published 07/17 2014 06:27PM

Updated 07/18 2014 03:29PM

CHAMPAIGN -- Parkland College is in line for a budget shortfall. School leaders say low enrollment may be to blame and it's changing the way they pay for projects next year. The community college offers more than 100 programs. WCIA-3's Anna Carrera finds out where they're making cuts.

They won't be cutting any full-time positions, but college leaders will be cutting $1.5 million in salaries by cracking down on overtime and things like that. They hope the financial situation gets better soon.

The halls aren't as crowded in the summer as they are in the fall, but even so, they're not as full as college leaders expected.

"It seems as though, across the state, enrollment's down, at least at community colleges," said Parkland chief financial officer Christopher Randles. "Some are much worse off than us, so we don't know why exactly the decrease in enrollment, but it seems to be fairly universal."

Students like Kenneth King aren't part of that trend.

"School's like my option right now,"  said King.

He already finished his first year at Parkland and he plans to keep going.

"It's local," said King. "Family's nearby. It's a good school. It's a really good community college."

Randles says they missed out on about ten percent of the money they expected from tuition last fiscal year. Increasing next year's will help fill that gap.

"If enrollment levels off and-or increases, we should certainly be fine budget-wise,"  said Randles. 

College leaders say they have a lot to look forward to, with a new student union and other construction projects in the works.

"We're cautiously optimistic with the new facilities and everything that things will rebound," said Randles. 

They hope to build a better future, not just for campus, but also the students on it.

"Hopefully, get through," said King. "Get a degree, say, 'I got it' and get a job."

Along with tuition, property taxes and state funding also keep the college running. But, since 80 percent of the budget is salaries, school leaders knew that's where most of the cuts would need to be made.

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