State budget

Chancellor is “Ray of hope” at Town Hall

Where are we, what do we know and what are we attempting to do about the largest base cut in the history of the University of Wisconsin System? And how will this impact UW Colleges in particular?

 “We’re going to land on our feet, but we’re trying to think this through over the long-term,” said Chancellor Ray Cross, introducing the topic of the Aug. 13, 2013, UW Colleges-wide compressed video Town Hall Meeting from the Pyle Center in Madison. If you missed the meeting, you can watch the archived hour-long recording. Click on the following link (or copy and then paste the link in your browser) to view the recording:

System wide the reduction is $52 million in 2013-14 and almost $62 million in 2014-15 and ongoing, explained Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance Steve Wildeck.

 “The ongoing impact is what we pay attention to and that really hurts,” Wildeck said.

Asked whether we should be talking to legislators about negative impacts of the base reduction, Cross responded that the most important step is to show legislators that we’re making changes in response to questions raised about the program revenue balances accumulated before this biennial budget.

Provost and Vice Chancellor Greg Lampe added that campus leaders must balance what to invest in, hold off on or cut. Lampe, along with Cross, stressed the continued commitment to finding funds to support compensation.

Wildeck indicated that information about specific cuts to the UW Colleges will be finalized and communicated to the campuses shortly.

Asked if any UW Colleges campuses would close, Cross emphatically said no. What’s on the table are innovative ways to consolidate back-office services and a greater focus on priorities instead of work that’s important but not a top priority.

Questioned about UW System’s work to reestablish positive relationships with legislators, Cross pointed out the increased involvement of the Board of Regents and the increased receptivity on the part of legislators in building collaborative relationships with campus leaders. “The Board of Regents is taking a leadership role on that,” he said.

In response to a question about hiring impacts, Cross said, “The first thing we have to do is filter through what we can do that least impacts the classroom and that allows us to provide a quality education.”

“It is easy to resort to methodical business practices and to set aside the fact that we’re human beings and that we care for, respect and value our colleagues,” said Cross. He reiterated his support for faculty and staff and said the conversation would continue at the UW Colleges fall convocation later this month.

The chancellor also encouraged UW Colleges faculty and staff to keep joking and laughing. He, however, was unaware of an inadvertent self-referential pun that had the audience chuckling earlier as he spoke of balancing bad news with a “ray of hope.”

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5 ways to stay tuned or catch up with news impacting you

  1. Read the Chancellor’s Chatter. Chancellor Ray Cross emailed UW Colleges and UW-Extension faculty and staff June 5 and June 10 with updates about the State Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee budget decisions and the UW System Board of Regents recent meeting. You will find those and earlier messages posted at
  2. Read news releases posted at for UW Colleges and for UW-Extension, where you also can subscribe to UW-Extension news releases by clicking on the “RSS” orange icon.
  3. Subscribe to the UW Colleges and UW-Extension news clips service by filling out the form at
  4. “Like” the UW Colleges and UW-Extension Facebook page at
  5. Follow UW Colleges and UW-Extension Twitter posts at and

And, of course, we hope you will bookmark this News & Ideas site as a favorite and visit often, or, better yet, subscribe to it. If you’re not already a subscriber, look on the right side of the site for an invitation to “Subscribe to this blog.” Enter your email and click on “Subscribe” to get an email message with a link for each new posting.

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Chancellor’s update on 2013-15 budget

The State Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance met May 23, 2013, to review the 2013-15 state budget, including provisions related to the University of Wisconsin System.

UW Colleges and UW-Extension Chancellor Ray Cross emailed an update to employees May 24, including the information that legislators want them to have a pay plan but that he does not yet know where the funding will come from or how much of an increase employees will receive.

Here is an overview of some of the actions the Joint Committee on Finance decided May 23, which removed $183.8 million in general purpose revenue for UW System (compared to the original bill) including, as outlined in Gov. Scott Walker’s budget errata letter, a base budget cut of $32.8 million annually for a total of $65.6 million over the 2013-15 biennium.

The chancellor pointed out that the budget discussion is not over, as the budget still has to make its way through both houses, starting with the Assembly, and face veto review by the governor.

“There will be a lot of important continuing discussion about the UW,” Chancellor Cross wrote. “We’re analyzing the implications of the JFC vote, gathering information from legislators, and creating plans to help better position the UW through the next stages of this important budget process.”

Additional information is available through a UW System news release.

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Chancellor Cross responds to Gov. Walker’s 2013-15 biennial budget

Gov. Scott Walker’s 2013-15 biennial budget proposal is the the best budget University of Wisconsin administrators have seen in many budget cycles.

UW Colleges and UW-Extension Chancellor Ray Cross responded with a news release, noting that the budget emphasizes the role UW institutions play in job creation, workforce development and economic growth.

“I am especially pleased that this budget includes startup funding to launch the UW Flexible Option,” Cross said, explaining that UW-Extension is leading this initiative to bridge the gap between what adults know today and the degree or certificate they need to advance their careers. This option allows them to start, progress and complete their education on their own schedules. Details are available at

You can read the full news release here and watch the budget address, which Wisconsin Public Television broadcast, at

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Gov. Walker’s budget address tonight on Wisconsin Public Television and Wisconsin Public Radio

WPR’s Shawn Johnson and WPT’s Frederica Freyberg.

Gov. Scott Walker will deliver his 2013-15 biennial budget address to a joint session of the Wisconsin State Legislature tonight, Feb. 20, 2013, at the State Capitol. Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) will broadcast it live starting at 7 p.m. and Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) also will carry live coverage on the Ideas Network stations. WPR’s Shawn Johnson and WPT’s Frederica Freyberg will provide post-address analysis.

In Gov. Walker’s E-update, he indicated the budget will focus on five priorities:

1. Creating jobs
2. Developing our workforce
3. Transforming education
4. Reforming government
5. Investing in infrastructure

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Regents approve 5.5% tuition hike

Annual tuition at UW Colleges will increase by $247, to a total of $4,750, for in-state students following the approval June 7 of a 5.5 percent tuition increase for all UW System campuses by the Board of Regents.  Student fees will bring the total cost for two semesters to more than $5,000 at all UW Colleges campuses.

UW System said the tuition hike will cover about a third of the cuts to the university imposed by the State Legislature in the last budget. The university lost $316 million in state revenue cuts over the two-year budget period. Tuition increases are expected to recoup $110 million of the loss.


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Budget cuts approved for UW-Extension and UW Colleges

UW-Extension will have to cut $2,078,362 and UW Colleges will have to cut $1,749,461 from their current fiscal year budgets as part of the University of Wisconsin’s share of the current state budget shortfall. The legislature’s Joint Finance Committee approved the cuts on a 12-4 vote Feb. 15.

The Wisconsin Department of Administration estimates that the state will have to cut $123.15 million in 2011-12 and $51.15 million in 2012-13. The UW was assigned to bear $46,135,078, or 37.4% of the state’s 2011-12 shortfall.

The material prepared and presented by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau on the lapse is located here. The report includes a section on the University of Wisconsin System.

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