Thursday, May 08, 2008

Extension Regains 2008 Funding

(Note: I tried to format this thing three times. It is determined to be ugly.)

Press Release from the U of I Extension:


Fiscal Year 2008 Funded for U of I Extension, Focus Shifts to 2009

Contact: Gary Beaumont, 217-333-9440, beaumont@uiuc.edu

Urbana -- On May 2, 2008, University of Illinois Extension received the memorandum of agreements from the Illinois Department of Agriculture for fiscal year 2008 funding. Two line items have been in question, County Board Match funds ($12.8 million) and the Cook County Initiative funds ($5.055 million). These two line items were included in the FY08 State of Illinois budget that was signed into law late in August 2007, but the distribution of funds was held up until now.

County Board Match funds are provided by the State in support of Extension programs at the county level. All counties provide funding for their local Extension offices. The state, in turn, matches this funding.

The Cook County Initiative is targeted funding for Extension to address the critical needs of audiences in Cook County . Funds have been appropriated annually since FY06.

"Since the receipt of the memorandum of agreements, they have been under internal review and the signature process is underway at the university level," said Dennis Campion, director of University of Illinois Extension . "After all the university signatures are in place, the agreements will be returned to IDOA for signature and processing, so it may still take one or two weeks before payments arrive."

Campion expects two payments, one to catch up through the first three quarters of the fiscal year and then a final payment expected to arrive sometime during the fourth quarter. The State of Illinois fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30.

Also, a sum of $33,900 will also be received for U of I Extension's 4-H Youth Development program.

"At this time this is the only amount that we have for this purpose. We continue to seek clarification regarding the intentions of the legislature regarding these funds," said Campion.

In August 2007, Governor Blagojevich line-item vetoed funding for 29 youth development educator positions from the FY08 Illinois budget. Last year, Extension issued notices of non-reappointment for people in these positions.

There are bills in the House and Senate to reinstate 4-H youth development funds. SB1921 and HB4228 are posted for hearing by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday, May 8, 2008. Extension Partners (extensionpartners.org) will continue to work for youth development funds with a goal of having an Extension youth education position for every county in Illinois .

U of I Extension was in unprecedented territory with the threat of total rescission of its funds. Typically these funds are delayed in arriving on time, but have never been rescinded.

Extension is now turning its attention to fiscal year 2009.

"While there are good intentions, we have heard a variety of budgeted amounts for County Board Match, Cook County Initiative and youth development funding. With this amount of uncertainty in the system, we continue to review plans to protect the overall financial health of our organization," said Campion.

"Until a more thorough organizational outlook is undertaken, existing terminal contracts and layoff notices will not be rescinded at this time."

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