Chancellor’s Update: Capital Budget, Public Hearings and Other News

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,

As spring slowly emerges we are seeing state budget activities intensify. Today, I write with the latest updates on the state 2017-19 biennial budget and related activities, leading up to the expected passage of the budget this summer.

Capital Budget

The State Building Commission approved the Governor’s recommendations in the 2017-19 proposed capital budget for UWM facility renovation projects, including $52M for the Northwest Quadrant (NWQ) and $33.5M for the Sandburg Residence Halls. We are extremely pleased with the endorsement of these proposals to provide significant enhancement to the student experience. The improvements in NWQ will bring up to code approximately 470,000 square feet that we currently cannot occupy, allowing access to desperately-needed classroom, research and other academic space. The Sandburg project will include upgrades to plumbing and other infrastructure systems in our largest residence halls.

Joint Finance Public Hearings

Joint Finance Committee (JFC) public hearings will be held in April throughout the state. Hearing details are available here, including an April 5 hearing at Wisconsin State Fair Park. I will give testimony at this hearing about UWM’s critical role in the region and state, our support for the proposed additional funding for UW System, a request to endorse the proposed capital budget, and other elements drawn from our message (see below). Student Association leadership will be represented and will express support for the preservation of allocable segregated fees and other issues. We have also asked members of our Board of Visitors, the UWM Foundation board, and area business leaders to add their voices of support by speaking at the hearing, or reaching out to legislators in person or with letters. If interested, you may attend the hearing on personal time to share your perspectives on why UWM should be supported in the state budget.

Advocacy

In addition to the JFC hearing, UWM is advocating for our students, faculty and staff in the budget process in a variety of ways. I have been meeting regularly with members of the JFC – including a session with the two co-chairs, Sen. Alberta Darling and Rep. John Nygren, who visited our campus recently. We are also hosting a meeting of Milwaukee-area legislators on our campus next month. In addition, I have attended alumni events in Seattle, San Diego, San Francisco, Phoenix, and around Wisconsin. I record monthly WUWM radio shows (the next one airs at 1:30 p.m. on April 6) and we are running a monthly advertorial in the Milwaukee Business Journal. These media activities allow me to spotlight our student, faculty and staff contributions and explain why UWM deserves investment.

At the federal level, I have added my signature to a UW System-wide letter that pinpoints the impacts of this proposed 2018 federal budget on college students and our research engine. I also added my signature to an op-ed from all five research institutions in the state expressing concern about proposed cuts to federal research funding.

Our Message

We are highlighting the critical need to restore the $50 million lapse in general purpose revenue (GPR) funding for the UW System. We also are voicing support of performance-based funding; however, we are requesting that the criteria for awarding the funds be based on the progress each campus makes in their own improvement efforts versus having the 13 UW System campuses compete against one another, as the state budget currently proposes. We strongly support an employee compensation plan.

I continue to encourage you to visit the UWM State Budget Information web site for the latest news, updates, and resources. There are new infographics about UWM’s value to and impact on Wisconsin and the world. In addition, there is a list of actions of how you can help which includes information on and UWM Legislative Advocacy Day and Posters in the Rotunda on April 12 and on-campus pick-up locations for new “Panther Proud” buttons and stickers. As always, we ask that you familiarize yourself with and follow UW System guidelines for political activity.

We have much to value and for which to rally. Thank you for your efforts to keep UWM strong.

Best regards,

Mark A. Mone
Chancellor
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

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