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The head of the Illinois Board of Higher Education has issued a budget warning to the presidents of the state's public universities after meeting with Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner's budget transition team.

According to reports, emails that Executive Director James Applegate sent to school presidents say schools should be prepared for possible funding cuts of up to 30 percent over the next 18 months. He described it as "bad budget news."

A spokesman for Rauner, Mike Schrimpf, told The Associated Press that the Republican's transition team was not ordering budget cuts but seeking information on how a rollback of the state's temporary income tax would affect state agencies.

University administrators said the request to prepare for bad news wasn't a surprise.

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