The self-study has occurred during a period of financial challenge for the college. In 2010, the state of Illinois, facing a catastrophic budget deficit, did not adhere to its established payment schedule and postponed making expected payments. Only 75% of FY10 funding was received during the year, with the remaining 25% spread over the first six months of FY11. FY12 state funding appears equally tenuous. However, Sauk Valley Community College is well-prepared to weather such economic downturns by long experience with maximizing limited capacity. According to Out of the Prairie, the Sauk founders were soon aware that “the tax rate approved in the June 8, 1965 election was too low to adequately finance the new college” (p. 17). In 1971, after just five years in operation, rejection of two referendums, and three tuition increases, the Board requested “a skeleton plan for survival for the college” (p. 45). One familiar factor in that first financial crisis was the “failure of the state to maintain financial support at the level indicated” (p. 48); another was erosion of the property tax base. However, having committed to continue its Mission and the quality of education offered, the resulting plan concluded: “Continued growth is possible and essential but the college must refine its operation” (p. 53). This expectation of frugality is one that the Board of Trustees has honored over the years.
Now, as 40 years ago, the administration and Board are challenged to ensure the financial welfare of the institution while protecting instructional quality. Sauk is well positioned to continue to fulfill its Mission and to strive toward its Vision. The focus for this section of the self-study is to demonstrate that we know our capacity; that our processes for planning allow informed spending decisions; and that we are poised to take advantage of opportunities to expand services. Although once again facing challenges brought on by scarce resources, we continue to seek quality improvement.
Sauk Valley Community College asserts that it has sufficient appropriate processes by which it allocates resources to preserve its ability to fulfill the mission given it by the community and to provide the best education possible with enough set aside to weather challenges and capitalize on opportunities.