Pay Raise, Tuition Issues Unanswered in Budget
The biggest budget question for UW–Madison this biennium is faculty and academic staff pay raises — but Gov. Tommy Thompson’s proposed 1997-99 budget does not give an immediate answer.
UW System officials say the salary plan offered to unclassified state employees, such as faculty and academic staff, by the state won’t be known for certain until June.
John Torphy, vice chancellor for administration, says it appears the governor has set aside enough state money to finance raises of 2 percent per year. However, the budget bill gives the UW System Board of Regents the authority to increase faculty and academic staff salaries at a rate greater than the pay plan.
UW–Madison officials say salary increases similar to the 1 percent and 2 percent raises in the last two years will further hamper the university’s ability to attract and retain top faculty. UW System President Katharine Lyall and Chancellor David Ward recommended 5.1 percent raises for each of the next two years for faculty and academic staff, but the Board of Regents pared that request down to 4 percent per year.
Another unanswered budget question is tuition. Thompson is proposing tuition increases of 2.7 percent in 1997-98 and another 1.7 percent in 1998-99. But these figures do not reflect the impact compensation will have on tuition.
The governor is also recommending giving the Board of Regents the ability to increase tuition revenue by 5 percent above what the Legislature approves and then spend the additional revenue.
Other related spending questions not answered in the budget concern two UW–Madison construction projects. Campus officials are still waiting for State Building Commission action on the Healthstar project and the new School of Pharmacy building. The university is seeking authorization for state funding for both projects, which are funded through public-private partnerships that match private donations with state dollars.
Healthstar, a proposed venture to address facilities needs for biomedical research and health professions education, would result in the construction of two new buildings at a cost of $150 million over six years. The university is committing $2 for every $1 the state will provide.
The new Pharmacy building is projected to cost $45 million. Of that amount, the state has already authorized $15 million and the university has matched it with $15 million in donations. The remaining $15 million is proposed to be financed by the state.