May 19, 2010
In response to unprecedented cuts in state funding, University of Illinois Extension announced today a map of how local county Extension programs will be administered.
"This new organizational map includes larger multi-county unit operations with a local presence in every county," said Bob Hoeft, interim director of Extension. "The map reveals the counties that will form new partnerships to reduce administrative costs of county operations. Several factors including partnering agencies, potential for clientele to relate to each other and geographic resources were considered in the multi-county configurations."
Programming in the new multi-county unit will continue to be guided by local Extension councils, which are made up of local citizens. Educational programs may see changes as present day resources are fewer than in the past. Interest in specific programs will vary across the state; the goal is to support relevant programs which have measureable impact on the quality of life for Illinois residents.
Extension County Directors and Educators will provide leadership with local councils and stake holders to identify program priorities and available financial resources to guide staffing needs. This information will guide the next step in the reorganizational plan.
Hoeft says the restructuring addresses financial constraints, but also provides for a continuation of what Extension is known for -- research-based, high-impact programs meeting changing societal and personal needs. U of I Extension has had to cut $7 million from the budget as a result of financial constraints imposed by the state and university. As of May 19, no FY10 state funds have been received.