Local reps discuss budget impasse with students


Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) answers students’ questions regarding the budget impasse, MAP funding and technology at “Pizza with Pritchard” on Tuesday in the New Hall Community Center Swing Space. Read more at bit.ly/1YD6bae.

By Madison Kacer

Local representatives Bob Pritchard (R-Hinckley) and Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) said they are confident that some form of MAP grant funding will be passed by state lawmakers.

Student concerns regarding the budget impasse were addressed during a Student Association event Tuesday that offered free pizza and beverages. Some of the concerns brought up by students were the state funding of the Monetary Award Program, state funding of higher education and the lack of assistance for the middle class.

Concerns about state funding of MAP grants and higher education stem from the eight-month state budget impasse, which has resulted from state lawmakers not agreeing with Gov. Bruce Rauner on a budget for Fiscal Year 2016. Until a budget is passed, state budget appropriations cannot be dispersed, including funding for higher education.

In addition to budget concerns, some ideas brought up by students pertained to their future careers.

“I really want to know what [Pritchard’s] opinion is on newer technology being brought into schools,” said Anjna Patel, senior business management major.

Some of the solutions proposed by the representatives include a focus on stimulating the state economy and encouraging students to be involved in election processes.

The event was coordinated by SA Senate Speaker Dillon Domke after he had a meeting with Pritchard about the state budget impasse a few weeks ago.

“I knew there were a lot of [student] concerns and desires for information,” Pritchard said. “This was an opportunity to talk about it and personalize the answers.”

Twenty-five students attended the event, which was hosted in the New Hall Swing Space. Domke said he was happy with the turnout but believes that some attendees were lost to the good weather.

Domke said he hopes to coordinate another event similar to this after spring break, possibly one that reaches out to the Greek community. He said he plans to improve marketing initiatives so as to reach more students.

“This was kind of a pilot run,” Domke said. “Potentially, we might look to do something like this with Greek Row or other groups of students.”