SWIC cuts 19 administrator positions, raises tuition fees

In a cost-saving measure, the Southwestern Illinois College Board of Trustees unanimously approved cutting 19 administrators at its meeting Wednesday night as well as increasing tuition and fees for its students.

The reductions in force are effective July 1 and will result in a salary savings of nearly $1.2 million, according to a news release.

SWIC President Georgia Costello read the following statement during the board of trustees meeting Wednesday:

“New contracts for many upstanding professional administrators will not be extended after June 30, as approved by the Southwestern Illinois College Board at its March 29 meeting. While these non-renewals of positions were not about people or performance, that doesn’t make it any easier, here at SWIC, or at every other affected state college and university.

“Recent steep losses in state funding, corresponding statewide enrollment declines, and the continuing state budget impasse have formed a perfect storm that has lasted nearly two years, and counting. The impact on state colleges and universities has been devastating, requiring some to start force reductions much earlier.

“Our ability to stem the tide for as long as we have, to see if things might change for the better, was only made possible because everyone pulled together to take on additional duties as vacated positions went unfilled; to define and adopt new work-flow processes to increase efficiency; all while maintaining SWIC’s historically high national and state rankings when it comes to awarding degrees and certificates.”

$109 per credit hour — previous tuition cost

$113 per credit hour — new tuition cost

The employees affected by the reductions are as follows:

▪  Academic adviser: Jeffrey Baltes

▪  Assistant director of athletics for compliance and academics/head softball coach: Katherine Bernal

▪  Coordinator of college activities and theater operations: Jeffrey Blue

▪  Program development specialist: Linda Boyce

▪  Director of nursing education and health related occupations: Carol Eckert

▪  Vice president for marketing and institutional advancement: Michael Fleming

▪  Systems analyst/programmer: Raymond Frost

▪  Part-time academic adviser: Denise Krivokuca

▪  Senior training specialist: Debra Lassman

▪  Evening and college activities supervisor, Sam Wolf Granite City Campus: Jill Lorance

▪  Custodial/maintenance shift supervisor: David Parker

▪  Account executive: Tricia Poettker

▪  Communication specialist: Melanie Reinhardt

▪  Director of Selsius corporate and career training: Lynette Rienbolt

▪  Network operations center manager: Paul Rousselot

▪  Part-time academic adviser: Jennifer Selden

▪  Assistant director of community education: Jay Stokes

▪  Communications specialist/associate director: Kelly Turner

▪  Manager of testing, data, and records: Jenny Wieland

While these non-renewals of positions were not about people or performance, that doesn’t make it any easier, here at SWIC, or at every other affected state college and university.

SWIC President Georgia Costello

The latest board action follows last fall’s approval of the voluntary retirement of 12 individuals. The voluntary retirement program was offered to employees as a way “to reduce the size and cost of SWIC’s work force,” according to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. The program cost SWIC $461,971 in payments to those individuals who took advantage of it.

The news release details the loss of state funding SWIC has endured the last several years. In fiscal 2015, the college received $13.5 million in funding. In fiscal 2016, the funding dropped by 87 percent to $1.6 million. During the current fiscal year, SWIC has received $6.7 million, which is 50 percent, of credit-hour reimbursements and tax-levy equalization funds, according to the news release.

SWIC has experienced a decline in enrollment over the last three fiscal years as well. According to figures provided by the college, 18,706 students attended the college during fiscal 2016, which was a decline from 19,845 students in fiscal 2015 and 20,743 students in fiscal 2014.

The board of trustees also unanimously approved tuition and fee increases during its meeting on Wednesday. Starting this summer, tuition will increase from $109 per credit hour to $113 per credit hour, and fees covering student activities and information technology will increase from $5 to $9 per credit hour.

Jamie Forsythe: 618-239-2562, @BND_JForsythe