March 9, 2016

JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – Where did the $750 million go? That’s the question that State Rep. John Bradley (D-Marion) asked repeatedly when addressing a gathering of Dr. Jane Bryant’s political science students, administrators, staff, and board members at John A. Logan College Wednesday afternoon.

A 12-year veteran of the House of Representatives in Springfield, Bradley was referencing funds earmarked for higher education coffers this fiscal year – funds that have not yet been approved, much less disbursed by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

And although the Senate overrode the governor’s veto of legislation that would have released the funds to colleges throughout the state last week, the House failed in its attempt by a narrow margin to override the legislation.

The House then drafted a new bill Friday that would release the funds for colleges, but it is expected that Rauner will veto that bill, which will lead to another override process. Should the override eventually happen, it is not known how long it will take before the check is eventually cut and mailed. It could be weeks, or it could be months.

“I just want to know where the money went,” Bradley said. “I don’t have the authority to spend it. The governor needs to quit playing games and get John A. Logan College (and all other colleges and universities) funded.”

After some opening remarks, Bradley answered several questions from audience members as posed by Student Trustee, Brandi Husch.

Bradley was, on occasion, passionate with his answers. He stressed that he is and has always been a big supporter of community colleges. He said that he attended Southeastern Illinois College in Harrisburg after high school and even served as student trustee there. It was the beginning of a career in public service.

“It just breaks my heart when I see what’s going on here,” Bradley said of Logan’s decision last week to lay off 55 teachers and staff by the end of May or June. “But believe me, I have always voted to fund community colleges and I will continue to vote for our community colleges. I have never voted against anything involving Logan.”

Husch pointed out that April 20th is Student Advocacy Day statewide and any student interested in having his or her voice heard in Springfield should contact her. Bradley added that his office would even help pay for a bus if enough students want to make the trek to the capital on that day.