By State Representative John D’Amico
Having spent my entire life living in the area around Northeastern Illinois University, I understand Northeastern’s meaning to the countless young people it’s educated – from the students who were once told college was too expensive, to the parents beaming with pride at commencement as they watch their child become the family’s first college graduate.
That’s why I am disgusted at what the Northeastern community has had to endure for the past three years: canceled classes, cuts to services and most recently mass layoffs.
The recent layoffs at Northeastern included critical support staff that assist students with class registration, financial aid and graduation requirements. Now, if Illinois doesn’t pass a budget soon, then Northeastern will probably see increased layoffs.
All the cuts stem from a three-year budget impasse. Gov. Rauner has decided to hold funding hostage to his corporate agenda. The impasse has led Northeastern in the past two years to receive less than half the funding it received in 2015 alone. I opposed these vicious cuts and fought to restore full funding to keep college affordable and solidify Illinois’ status as a leader in higher education.
Illinois’ greatest resource is neither its large corporate skyscrapers nor the fuels buried deep beneath the ground – its greatest resource is its people. And when we invest in our people, especially our young people, there is no limit to what we can achieve.