Chicago State, preparing for layoffs, collecting keys from faculty and students

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CHICAGO—Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrats are trading barbs over who is to blame for the possibility that Chicago State University may have to close due to financial problems.

Illinois' public colleges and universities have waited since July for state funding held up by a budget standoff in Springfield.
Rauner accused Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan and his colleagues Wednesday of playing games by stalling budget negotiations to force a tax hike.

Madigan spokesman Steve Brown put the blame on Rauner, saying it was the governor who vetoed the spending plan lawmakers sent him last year and that "now he wants to pretend that this is something that Democrats did."

The state's budget should've taken effect July 1. Rauner says he vetoed the budget because it was billions out of balance.

Meanwhile, the school is backing off a request that department chairs collect keys from faculty and staff.

University spokesman Tom Wogan says faculty and staff now are being asked for their key numbers so the university has an inventory of keys that might be collected in the event of layoffs.

Wogan says the request was clarified in a meeting that university President Thomas Calhoun held Wednesday with other university officials.

On Monday, administrator Aleshia Renee Terry asked department chairs to begin collecting keys "as soon as possible."

Despite its financial problems, the university announced Tuesday it would open registration for the summer and fall semesters next week.