Wisconsin Idea Partnership

Letter to Senator Grothman


March 30, 2011


Dear Senator Glenn Grothman,


As a beneficiary of and supporter of UW-Extension, I wish to express my strong support for the Wisconsin Idea Partnership.   I am currently in the Master Gardener program and am quite concerned that if UW –Madison becomes a separate and independent institution, we will lose the access to UW-faculty and research for our programs.  It is this partnership with the whole UW- system that makes the UW- Extension so useful to the citizens of Wisconsin.  


For example the UW-Extension staff was quick to respond to the Late Blight in potatoes that struck in 2009 and get information out farmers, farmer’s markets and home owners alike preventing further spread of the disease.  


Will the UW-Madison be as quick to respond if they no longer have as strong association with the public? I fear they will not.  Please consider the following proposal to keep our Extension working for the common man.  


  1. The UW System Wisconsin Idea Partnership advocates operational flexibilities for every UW System institution. UW-Madison’s Badger Partnership advocates for flexibilities solely for UW-Madison. If these flexibilities are good for UW-Madison, why shouldn’t they be good for all institutions?

  2. We can achieve flexibilities for all UW institutions without creating any public authorities.

  3. The Wisconsin Idea Partnership keeps the current UW System together and focuses on:

·         Access

·         Affordability

·         Accountability


Flexibilities for all UWS institutions are important to manage budgets with the proposed cuts, capture available savings, reallocate those savings and other resources to areas of highest priority, and contract for services without the burdensome oversight that prevents us from using cost-effective, local alternatives to statewide contracts.   


Flexibilities are extremely important to the UW-Extension, but they will also save the state money, help the UWS operate more efficiently and, more importantly, serve students and families in Wisconsin with a first-rate higher education system. 


We believe JFC should amend the bill to keep the UW System together and extend flexibilities to all UW institutions.

Please support the Wisconsin Idea Partnership to offer flexibilities to all UW institutions.




Sherry Speth,


President, Sheboygan County Master Gardeners


cc:       Kevin Reilly, President, UW System

Ray Cross, Chancellor, UW Colleges and UW-Extension

Rosemary Potter, Director of Government Relations, UW Colleges and UW-Extension

Rick Klemme, Dean and Director, Cooperative Extension, UW-Extension