Summary of ICCTA's "Capital Funding" Seminar
Sept. 7, 2001, in East Peoria, Illinois

Participants engaged in spirited discussion at ICCTA's Sept. 7 seminar on capital funding needs. Among the thoughts and ideas brought forth:

1. Illinois community colleges have 1.4 billion square feet of space.

2. In 1991, the Illinois Community College Board and the Illinois Presidents Council estimated deferred maintenance costs at more than $800 million.

3. The Illinois Board of Higher Education will recommend a life cycle cost report. It will encourage (but not require) depreciation of buildings.

4. General Accounting Standards Board (GASB) changes will soon require colleges to record depreciation, but not to put money aside.

5. Here's how the capital process works. The Resource Allocation Management Plan (RAMP) asks colleges to tell ICCB annually what construction projects they need. ICCB ranks the projects. Current needs amount to about $1 billion dollars. Since 1995, IBHE has not changed the priority order of projects after they are established by ICCB, although IBHE often puts some university projects ahead of some community college projects. In other words, IBHE follows the rankings set by ICCB but integrates that list with its own list of university priorities. At times IBHE has seemed to say that it favored repair and renovation over new construction, although ICCB doesn't favor remodeling over new construction. In December of each year, the IBHE sends its recommendation to the Governor, who sends his recommendations to the legislature in February or March. The Illinois General Assembly then decides 1) how much will be appropriated to the Illinois Capital Development Board and 2) which projects the colleges must provide a 25 percent match. Some colleges get some capital dollars from local donors.

6. Some college benefit from "end runs," or appropriations that are not part of the IBHE/ICCB process.

7. Some think that every dollar the universities get is one we don't get. Others believe that we are not in a zero sum game, and that if the universities do well, we will do well also.

8. We could ask the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (the state's accountant) to audit our facilities.

9. How can we go back to the General Assembly for temporary replacement money at a time when they think they have already given us that money (in their 2001 "$250 million over five years" pledge)?

10. Ask, seek, knock. A bee can drive the biggest bear out of the woods.

11. How about a state symposium on deferred maintenance needs of community colleges? New Mexico spends 38 percent of capital money on remodeling.

12. Enlist the aid of your local opinion leaders and employees before contacting legislators.

13. Show legislators your need.

14. IBHE is now studying its capital process. This should help us understand the IBHE's methods.

15. Since 1995, only seven colleges have been able to get local voters to approve capital projects.

16. We need to talk about how we can help ourselves. The state can't do it all. Colleges could impose a tuition surcharge.

17. Should we give up on rational approaches and concentrate on bare knuckle politics?

18. Does ICCB need help on formulating criteria for ranking capital requests?

19. All of education has the same problem that we have.

20. We have more students; we deserve more of the money.

21. According to some, history reveals that the universities have been favored (over community colleges) in the capital process over the last 20 years.

22. We must tell the legislators that their $250 million appropriation to us (over five years) was nothing special.

23. We need to be using a common set of facts and figures in our advocacy programs. Who will produce it? ICCB may not have accurate figures. This year's experiences show that the colleges report different square footages at different times. Do the colleges themselves have good records?

24. We need to consider joining an alliance that would address capital needs from K to 20.

25. We need leadership and strategy as soon as possible. The natives are restless.

26. Does IBHE have a record of community college buildings? Does it agree with ICCB's?

27. We could try to run multiple referenda on the same date and use statewide advertising to support the referenda.

28. We could create a five-year program to solve our problem of capital backlog.

29. Estimate the total need, including P-12.

30. 2001 was a success in the sense that we raised the issue.

31. Other states have good records of buildings, their ages, and their present value.

32. Maintenance is not sexy. It's hard to get donations to fix roofs.

33. We need to bring legislators to our campuses to show them our problems.

34. It would be great if we had the support of the business community, as the community colleges of North Carolina did in their successful bond issue of 2000.

For information on the next ICCTA seminar, contact ICCTA at 1-800-454-2282.

In Association with

Illinois Community College Trustees Association
401 E. Capitol Ave., Suite 200
Springfield, IL 62701-1711
217-528-2858 (phone)
217-528-8662 (fax) (e-mail)

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