I hope you have plans to enjoy time with family and friends on the Fourth of July holiday. This week also brings favorable news of Governor Tony Evers signing the state budget, which includes approval of the UW System’s (UWS) 2019-21 biennial operating and capital budgets.
The budget decisions include positive terms for UWS and, in turn, UWM. I thank Governor Tony Evers and our state legislators for their investment in us, as well as our business and community partners, alumni, friends, and all of you, for supporting UW-Milwaukee throughout this budget cycle. While the operating budget was not quite what we had advocated and hoped for, the combination of the pay plan and capital budget, with a small amount of additional operating funding, represent a significant long-term investment in our campus that will yield long-term benefits.
The final 2019-21 operating budget for UWS includes the following provisions:
- Funding of $40.4M to cover 70% of the costs of a 2%/2% pay plan increase for UWS employees over the biennium. UWM will need to self-fund about $3.3M for the remaining 30%. The 2%/2% represents an aggregate total for UWM; actual salary increases for individual employees will vary as 10% of the aggregate total will be allocated for Chancellor’s Discretionary Awards based on exceptional performance or other stated factors.
- Annual base funding of $22.5M for capacity-building initiatives, which will be provided to UWS for distribution to campuses upon Joint Finance Committee approval of a plan to be developed by UWS for use of the funds.
- A continuation for two additional years of the tuition freeze for undergraduate residents, without funding to cover the cost of the freeze.
The 2019-21 capital budget for UWM includes:
- $129.5M to construct a new chemistry building.
- $40.7M in infrastructure repairs to the main campus student union.
- $7M for an annex to the Klotsche Center to improve student recreation and sports offerings.
- $500,000 to begin planning for a new (supplemental) engineering building.
- Approximately $15M in “minor” projects specifically earmarked for UWM, anticipated to provide repairs to mechanical systems in EMS and exterior work on Mitchell Hall, SARUP, Enderis, Garland, Golda Meir Libraries, Pearse, USRB, and Vogel.
The chemistry building, planning funds for a new engineering building, and the “minor” projects repair work will be paid with state tax dollars. The Union and Klotsche annex projects are funded through segregated fees already being collected. Neither project will result in future increases to student segregated fees.
Thank you for your advocacy for UWM in this state budget process, as well as your ongoing efforts that make UWM a top university. Whether you teach classes, conduct research, advise students, provide administrative support or work in a campus service unit, you contribute to UWM’s success and the state’s investment in UWM is recognition of your efforts. I am grateful for your dedication and care for our students and our campus and look forward to implementing the state budget to keep advancing UWM.
Mark A. Mone
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee