Chancellor’s Update: 2019-21 Biennial and Capital Budget Update

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Dear UWM Faculty and Staff,
I hope you are staying warm and finding ways to enjoy (endure?) this year’s lively Wisconsin winter. March arrives next week and will hopefully bring signs of spring. Next month also marks the start of Wisconsin’s 2019-21 biennial and capital budget processes. This is the first of periodic budget updates I will share.

Status of UWM Budget

Governor Tony Evers is expected to release his proposed executive budget next week. While we await that announcement, here at UWM we have mixed news about our current budget status.

We have been responsible and successful in reducing expenditures, which was necessary to address decreasing revenues caused by budget cuts and continuous shrinking enrollments. While we are currently among the leaders in the UW System (UWS) in attracting applicants to enroll for fall 2019, our overall enrollments – made up of new and continuing students – have been shrinking. A decreasing student body poses significant budget challenges: a 1% decrease in enrollment represents about $2M in lost revenue. Even though we have successfully reduced spending, we will need to continue our responsible budgeting efforts. UWM’s New Budget Model, implemented this year for the 2019-20 budget, will allow us to align resources more strategically. In addition, to grow revenues, it is important for all of us to be diligent in our efforts to enroll and retain students and therefore promote student success in classrooms, labs, residence halls, activities and beyond.

Compensation Plan

In 2018, the Board of Regents (BOR) unanimously approved a pay plan recommendation to provide UWS employees a 3% increase for each of the two fiscal years starting July 1. The proposal calls for full state funding of the general wage increase. Typically, the state provides about 70 percent of the UWS pay increase with the rest being funded by tuition. The BOR’s proposal has been sent to the Wisconsin Legislature’s Joint Committee on Employee Relations, which can approve, reject or alter the proposal during the state budget process. If a pay plan is not “fully funded,” UWM would be required to pay for 30% of the pay plan costs, which could be about $5 million for a 3/3 pay plan at UWM.

Capital Budget

In 2018, the BOR approved the following UWM projects as part of their recommendation for the 2019-21 state capital budget.

• A new chemistry building, ranked first among 18 UWS institutional projects;
• $40M in infrastructure repairs to UWM’s Student Union, ranked fifth among 18 UWS institutional projects; and
• A Klotsche Center annex to improve student recreation and sports offerings.

The chemistry building would be paid for with state tax dollars. The union and Klotsche annex projects are funded through segregated fees that are already being collected. Neither project will result in future increases to student segregated fees. Our requests were included in a UWS capital budget that was submitted for consideration in the Governor’s proposed budget.

Integrated Support Services Progress 

This semester we’re launching the second hub for the Integrated Support Services (ISS) project – our effort to design and implement an administrative structure for finance and accounting, procurement, human resources and IT services. The second Shared Services Center, Hub 2, is expected to begin operations in fall 2019 for the following units:

• General Education Administration
• School of Architecture and Urban Planning
• Lubar School of Business
• College of Engineering and Applied Science
• Peck School of the Arts
• School of Freshwater Sciences
• Graduate School
• Office of Research
• UWM Libraries
• School of Information Studies
• School of Continuing Education
• College of General Studies

The Campus Technology Support implementation is expected to be completed this summer and will provide services to the entire campus.

The project aims for long-term service efficiencies, increased effectiveness, improved use of technology, and enhanced professional development opportunities for staff in these administrative areas. For more information, please click here.

Advocacy Plan

As we move through the budget process, we will keep you updated and will continue advocacy via meetings with legislators, regents and influencers, our monthly advertorials in the Milwaukee Business Journal, and other means. I encourage you, using personal time and resources, to share UWM’s story, noting the UWM State Budget Information web site as a source for facts and the latest news.

Thank you for engaging in the budget process and contributing to the success at UWM through your dedication and commitment.

Best regards,

Mark A. Mone
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee