- Associated Press - Thursday, April 6, 2017

CHICAGO (AP) - Northeastern Illinois University is planning to cancel three days of classes in order to cut costs as public universities in Illinois struggle to make ends meet during the state’s budget stalemate.

The Chicago-based university will no longer hold classes April 11, 12 and May 1.

Illinois has been without a budget for 21 months and has a bill backlog of $12.9 billion. Northeastern Illinois interim President Richard Helldobler called the state’s unprecedented budget impasse a “state of emergency” for the school.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, my frustration level is at a 22,” Helldobler said in a statement. “Springfield must understand that the lack of funding for higher education is having a negative and permanent impact, specifically on disadvantaged populations in the state. College access is critical for those who seek higher-paying jobs that contribute to a strong economy.”

The statement says administrators are also speaking with labor unions that represent their employees as school officials contemplate a schoolwide shutdown for those three dates.

A complete closure would be the second wave announced by the university in less than a month. The university required its employees to take five days off over spring break.

School officials say additional furlough days will be inevitable without a clear timeline on when a state budget might be passed.

“With these additional furlough days, we are now forced to cancel classes, which not only affects instruction but also critical core knowledge delivered by our highly qualified faculty,” Helldobler said.

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Information from: Chicago Tribune, https://www.chicagotribune.com

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