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SIC Board of Trustees Plans for the Future

HARRISBURG, Ill. (Sept. 28, 2020) – The Southeastern Illinois College Board of Trustees met Tuesday, Sept. 22, in the Heritage Room on the Harrisburg campus due to social distancing requirements. The Board approved a grant, discussed a Carmi campus expansion, passed the FY21 Budget, and modified the 2021 spring schedule, among other important business.

Two Delta Regional Authority Grants were awarded to SIC. One grant in the amount of $24,255 will be used to renovate the nursing lab at the David Stanley White County Center in Carmi. This grant was approved by the Board at Sept. 22’s meeting. The other grant in the amount of $56,370 will be used to purchase new nursing simulation equipment for the main Harrisburg campus. The resolution for this grant will be approved at the October Board meeting.

“These grants allow SIC to continue to be the leader in nursing education in southern Illinois,” said SIC President Dr. Jonah Rice. “Our test scores year after year have put us in the forefront of nursing education, and these new upgrades will only help us continue that successful tradition.”

The Board also discussed the state supported construction of a major expansion at the White County Center in Carmi. It will provide vital career and technical education support and training for local industry, particularly in welding, mechanics and the trades. The project has been on the state list for 20 years.

“This expansion of the Carmi Center is important, and we’ve been at the altar, so to speak, twice before with the state,” said Rice. “But this is the closest we’ve come to seeing it come to fruition.”

Board Chair Dr. Pat York said that he and his fellow trustees will reevaluate the state’s guarantee of fiscal commitment at the end of the year. “White County business and industry need this expansion, and this needs to happen.”

The College will work closely with the Capital Development Board on this project in the coming months, including architectural selection. The spring should be busy with planning and preparation for the expansion.

The FY 21 budget was passed by the Board as well. A deficit was noted, despite mitigation efforts during the summer and early fall. Administration said that continued efforts to mitigate loss will be engaged during the year. Rice is confident that mitigation efforts will work.

“Of course, if the state cuts higher education like it must if revenue falls short, we will have to add to our mitigation efforts,” Rice explained.

The state has requested agencies to look at a possible 5% cut this year and perhaps a 15% cut for next year if revenue woes continue, an event that Rice says “will complicate services for everyone if that happens.”

The Board also modified the spring schedule to move the March spring break to May and ultimately end the spring semester a week early. The modified schedule will now see Final Exams from May 3 to May 5, with Commencement May 7. Spring Break will start May 14 and run through May 20. The move was seen as a necessary step during the COVID-19 crisis to avoid travel and germ spread as well as complications from highly probable quarantine issues following a long spring break.

“We solicited responses from all faculty, and the Southeastern Illinois College Education Association (SICEA) leadership said they understood the necessity of doing this and simply asked that this not occur when the COVID crisis is over,” said Rice.

Rice thanked SICEA President Sara DeNeal for her understanding and support of the move. Student Trustee Collin Sexton said that he understood the need for moving the break and agreed with the Board’s vote for health and safety reasons.

The Board approved revisions to the Campus Emergency Operations Plan. This plan will be sent to the Illinois Community College Board in October per requirements.

“We have had requests from other colleges to use our plan,” said Dean of Student Services Dr. Chad Flannery. “That’s a nice complement to the work of all on this project.”

In personnel, the Board approved resignation from Matt Vavro, Head Women’s Basketball Coach/Fitness Center Manager/professor of Physical Education and approved adjunct faculty.

The next meeting of the board will be held Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 6 p.m. in the Heritage Room on the SIC Harrisburg campus. More information about SIC can be found at

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