Governor’s budget adds funding to UW, financial aid
A two-year state budget that includes cuts in administrative positions but adds funding to deal with major university priorities was presented to the Legislature by Gov. Jim Doyle, kicking off deliberations that are expected to last for months.
“For the first time in more than 10 years, my budget will add more state money to the UW and financial aid than it will to the Department of Corrections,” Doyle told lawmakers regarding the UW System budget. “We’ll reduce the number of administrators by 200, but increase faculty by another 125.”
Doyle’s 2005-07 budget holds tuition increases to between 5 and 7 percent each year and increases student financial aid.
System and campus administrators said they were encouraged by many aspects of the governor’s plan but expressed concern over Doyle’s proposed administrative cuts, especially coming on the heels of a $250 million cut in the 2003-05 budget.
“Further staff reductions will negatively impact our capacity to provide quality academic and student support services,” said UW System President Kevin Reilly. “Having to reallocate 200 more of these positions, on top of the more than 200 we have already eliminated, will mean we’re doing less with less.”
But Reilly added he was encouraged by Doyle’s reinvestment in the UW System, shown by his inclusion of provisions such as a faculty retention fund and additional faculty.
Although the budget would force the campus to cut an estimated $20-25 million, which will be reallocated to pay for authorized expenditures, UW–Madison Chancellor John D. Wiley emphasized that Doyle’s budget provides funding for significant new initiatives.
“Despite the hardships that will come with this exercise, it is important to stress that the proposed budget includes new money to help us meet key objectives,” Wiley said.
He said that although the state’s $1.6 billion deficit did not allow for all of the campus’ needs to be addressed, the proposed budget addresses many university priorities.
“The governor’s budget resonates strongly with systemwide priorities such as 125 new faculty positions, assistance for faculty retention, domestic partner benefits and a relatively modest tuition increase that is offset by substantially increased financial aid,” Wiley said.
Here are some of the features of the governor’s proposed UW System budget:
- $10.6 million for UW’s AOP and Lawton financial aid programs. This increase includes funding both to replace auxiliary reserve revenues that were used to fund the programs in the last budget and funding to increase both programs by the estimated increases in tuition for the next two academic years.
- $13.1 million in 2006-07 to support the addition of 125 new faculty hires. This includes funding specifically to begin implementing the recommendations of the Committee on Baccalaureate Expansion and funding for the UW-Platteville/UW-Rock County engineering initiative.
- $5 million to support supplemental salary increases to faculty who are in high demand by other higher education institutions.
- $3 million to UW–Madison to support Alzheimer’s research.
- $1 million to provide funding for UW domestic partner insurance. His request also includes language that would change state statutes to allow this insurance to be provided.
- $11 million for debt service re-estimates.
- $200,000 for the State Hygiene Lab.
- $164.7 million for standard budget adjustments and utilities.
To fully fund the initiatives, however, Doyle directed the UW System to reallocate $35 million over the two-year budget cycle by eliminating 200 administrative positions. The governor also directed the system to reallocate $30 million through “enterprise savings” by restructuring state procurement contracts and improving asset management.
The budget — detailed in Assembly Bill 100 — now goes to the Legislature for consideration. The Joint Finance Committee will hold statewide hearings on the budget, before voting on the bill, likely in May.
The bill then goes to the Legislature for approval, and the governor is expected to receive the bill for vetoes and his signature sometime in July.
A summary of the provisions of Doyle’s budget is available at http://www.doa.state.wi.us/debf/pdf_files/200507bib.pdf.