E-mail message to the
July 3, 2002
Budget fix yields no surprises
The Legislatures Conference Committee completed its work Tuesday on the
state budget repair bill. It will reduce the University of Wisconsin System
budget by $44.2 million for 2001-03. The estimated impact at UW-Green Bay will
be a budget reduction of $774,095 over the two-year period, including $530,500
All budget cuts are painful, but these cuts are much less
severe than some earlier proposals. This budget allows us to protect core programs
and make sure the quality of a UW-Green Bay education is not jeopardized. We
also will keep our commitment to access by maintaining current enrollment levels
and avoiding huge tuition increases.
:As you may recall, we went through budget planning for the
coming year some months ago. That had to be as there were students to admit,
courses to schedule, and positions to fill. We could not wait for the legislature
to act. We used, as our target, an expectation of a biennial reduction of $750,000.
Essentially, we now need only continue to implement the budget plans we made
-- and shared with you -- some time ago. No new cuts are necessary.
In those earlier plans, we protected UWGB's instructional
capacity and, hence, the ability of our students to make timely progress toward
their degrees. Not instructional positions were cut. We, as a university, took
risks filling all open instructional positions even in the face of a System
hiring freeze. I am particularly pleased that our decision to take such a gamble
has paid off; had we not done so, we would now be scrambling at the last minute
to fill positions critical to the continuing quality of our programs.
We should also all be pleased that the Conference Committee,
through its budget actions, demonstrated its faith and confidence in the UW
System as a vital contributor to the states long-term economic health.
The return on the states investment in higher education will come in the
form of educated citizens and a highly skilled workforce.
The Senate and Assembly still must approve the budget, and
Gov. McCallum will exercise his veto authority. I ask for your continued patience
as this lengthy budget process nears its conclusion.
I cannot conclude without also noting, though, that budgets,
for higher education, are a never-ending saga. The current budget shortfall
has been partially addressed by the State by using one-time funds. Dealing with
the more basic structural budget problem has been largely postponed. I am expecting
that we will see significant new budget pressures as budgets are developed for
the next biennium. We go into that "next round" in relatively good
position, though: fiscally, in terms of our budget and strategically in terms
of the recognition -- as evidenced by our treatment in Madison during the current
budget decision making -- that the UW System is a part of a solution rather
than part of a problem.
As always, I will share with you additional budget developments
and appreciate your feedback.
Have a great 4th!
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