MADISON — In deference to Wisconsin’s difficult financial situation, the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will consider a budget proposal this week that seeks no new funding for new programs in the 2003-05 biennium.
The bare-bones budget, containing increases only to fund commitments already made by the university, is a departure from past biennial budget requests.
UW System President Katharine C. Lyall also will ask Regents to approve, in principle, a funding request down the road for maintaining educational quality and several collaborative projects aimed at improving the Wisconsin economy and addressing state workforce shortages in teaching and nursing.
The board is scheduled to act on the 2003-05 budget proposal Thursday (Aug. 22) at 10:30 a.m. in 1820 Van Hise Hall on the UW-Madison campus.
In line with budget guidelines issued by the Wisconsin Department of Administration, the UW System will formally forward only continuing costs and program revenue estimates for 2003-05 to DOA in September. Program revenue includes such items as federal funds, gifts, tuition and auxiliary operations, such as housing.
Later this year, the UW System plans to forward proposals to address critical needs in Wisconsin, including the state’s nursing shortage, teacher education and economic development. These proposals are designed to fit into a series of special budget initiatives being developed by Gov. Scott McCallum.
The board also is requesting several revisions to state law to give it more flexibility in managing the complex operations of the university. These changes would improve efficiency, streamline operations and avoid duplication of services at a time when the state is facing a deficit of more than $2 billion over the next two years.
State funding for the UW System was cut $58.9 million during the current biennium, a loss that represents state support for more than 8,000 students. In the budget repair bill recently adopted by the Legislature and signed by the governor, 23 percent of cuts to state spending were taken by the university system, even though the UW represents less than 9 percent of the state’s overall budget.
The board also will consider requests for about $143 million in state-funded bonding for needed capital projects in the 2003-05 biennium. This represents a smaller request than the capital budget approved for the 2001-03 biennium. The proposal is aimed at funding previously approved building projects, improving existing space for students and addressing deferred maintenance needs.
Sixty percent of the capital budget request will come from non-state funding sources, the highest percentage ever in a UW capital budget proposal.