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University of Wisconsin leaders assess budget impact (Mar 1, 2011)

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March 1, 2011

University of Wisconsin leaders assess budget impact

Major financial challenges and restructuring would affect all 182,000 students

MADISON, Wis. – University of Wisconsin leaders today responded to Governor Scott Walker’s proposed 2011-13 biennial budget, saying that $250 million in budget cuts for UW campuses will affect students, faculty, staff, and local communities all across the state.

UW System Institution

Proposed GPR Cut

UW-Madison                     

$125 million (13% reduction)

UW System Administration

$4.8 million (25% reduction)

Other UW System Institutions (total)

$120.2 million (avg. 11% reduction)

TOTAL:  

$250 million (11% reduction)

Under the Governor’s proposed budget, UW System campuses would receive about 6.1 cents of every Wisconsin tax dollar – down from 8 cents in 2010.

“The proposed funding reductions are significant,” said Charles Pruitt, President of the UW Board of Regents. “They will affect everything we do—from instruction, to research, to community service. Our faculty, staff and students have already been asked to make real sacrifices.  As a university system that competes in a national marketplace, this budget will pose big challenges to all of us.”

“While these cuts may result from a global economic downturn, that does not lessen their impact on the UW’s core educational mission,” said UW System President Kevin P. Reilly. “To preserve the university as an economic engine, we need more flexibility so that all UW campuses can soften the blow.”

UW leaders have long argued for changes to state laws that closely control tuition, budget allocations, financial management, purchasing and other campus operations. Under the Governor’s budget, only UW-Madison would get authority over these and other functions as a new stand-alone public authority.

Governor Walker has indicated that he is willing to work with UW System officials, chancellors, and the Legislature to provide all UW System campuses with the same managerial flexibility. Tonight, he reiterated that desire to work “with lawmakers from both political parties on expanding this concept to the other campuses throughout the UW System.” University leaders have urged that such a model preserve the integrity of the statewide UW System.

Today’s budget announcement comes amid ongoing debate over collective bargaining for UW faculty, academic staff, and classified staff. Although the UW System maintains a neutral stance on matters of collective bargaining rights, Reilly expressed concern about the cumulative effect on employee morale.

“Such changes should not be made in such an adversarial and rushed atmosphere. Our faculty, academic staff, and classified staff are dedicated professionals who routinely confront complex problems with creativity and persistence. Today, they are serving record numbers of students, winning new research grants, and helping local businesses create new jobs.”

“As we make tough budget choices, we must remember how these choices will affect people who deliver the goods in classrooms, laboratories, campus health centers, libraries, and other offices that serve our 182,000 students,” said Reilly.

To understand how funding reductions and restructuring might affect local UW campuses, UW-Extension offices, and local communities, many UW campuses will be hosting public listening sessions in the coming months.  

“Through those conversations, I hope we hear from people who have hopes and expectations of being served by their UW,” Reilly said. “I hope we hear from everybody.”

# # #

Public Statements issued by UW Chancellors

UW-Madison: http://www.news.wisc.edu/19049

UW-Oshkosh: http://www.uwosh.edu/today/9668/chancellor-wells-statement-on-proposed-uw-madison-autonomy/

 

Media Contact:
David Giroux
UW System
608-262-4464