CSU president: 'Everything's on the table' when looking for money to keep school open

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Facing the worst financial crisis in its 149-year history, Chicago State University is hoping to find "non-traditional" sources of revenue to keep the doors open. CSU's president told FOX 32’s Political Editor Mike Flannery that he's looking at everything.

Thomas Calhoun told FOX 32 "everything's on the table," from the sale of naming rights to using school facilities as collateral to guarantee loans.

“We have to think about smart ways we utilize assets that we have that might be able to be collateralized and that kind of thing,” Calhoun said.

While Calhoun sent layoff notices to all 900 Chicago State employees, including to himself, he said CSU would not shut down completely. Blaming the state's failure to provide its traditional funding, he said cuts could come as soon as May. Among options: closing some buildings on the South Side campus and consolidating academic programs.

“But we do have projections through the end of the calendar year that show that we would be able to remain open, even if in a reduced and compromised capacity,” Calhoun said.

Chicago State is cutting the current semester short by about two weeks and is cancelling spring break. The Democratic-controlled General Assembly recently approved money for state universities and the MAP scholarship grants. Republican Gov. Rauner vetoed it, saying the state could not afford it. Now, Rep. Ken Dunkin, a Rauner ally, is offering a smaller proposal the governor's promised to sign.

Sources said Democratic House Speaker Mike Madigan may not call it for a vote, moving instead next week to override Rauner's veto.

Meanwhile, Chicago State has a deal for anyone with a lot of spare cash.

“If someone came forward with a gift and an appropriate arrangement to name a facility on campus, of course we would consider that and welcome that,” Calhoun said.

The Chicago State president said there is no deal like that on the horizon.