A bill sponsored by State Senator Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) that will increase the size of the Illinois State University (ISU) Board of Trustees from seven to nine members has cleared committee in the Illinois Senate.
Senate Bill 15 passed the Senate Higher Education Committee on May 15. The bill not only increases the size of the board, but also stipulates that no more than 5 of the members appointed by the Governor can be from the same political party.
In committee Brady pointed out that in recent years State funding to Illinois’ public universities has been in decline as other financial obligations, like pension debt and Illinois’ unpaid bill backlog, have crowded out education spending.
“Increasing the number of trustees will mean a greater diversity of opinions and options in planning for the future of Illinois State University,” Brady said. “Additionally, a larger Board will bolster ISU’s ability to compete for resources to compensate for declining state funding.”
Nine member boards are not unheard of in Illinois. Other major public higher education institutions, like the University of Illinois, also have 9 members on their board of trustees.
Currently ISU has a seven member board, appointed by the Governor with the approval of the Senate. One voting student member is chosen by a campus-wide student election. The elected student member serves a 1-year term, while appointed members serve 6-year staggered terms.
The bill will head next to the Senate floor where it will be voted on by the full Senate.