UWM will face some tough choices

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee officials say they will be forced to cut $27 million out of their budget for the next biennial plan under Walker’s proposed budget repair bill.

According to Tom Luljack, vice chancellor of communications for UWM, $250 million in state-provided funds will be cut throughout the UW system for the next biennial plan.

“UWM will see about a 10-percent reduction in funds under the proposed budget repair bill,” Luljack said. “We don’t know what the end result will be as far as services or products offered by the campus, but we are beginning to do a comprehensive review of campus operations, schools and divisions to determine that.”

Deans and division heads at UWM are beginning to conduct reviews of their departments to put together a priority list to determine how the reductions will be administered, Luljack said. Tuition increases, which won’t be determined until the Board of Regents meets in June, may help offset the impact of some of the cuts, although there is no guarantee, Luljack said.

“Tuition increases might allow us to limit the impact of that 10 percent reduction in funds,” he said. “Initial proposals from legislators have indicated they might allow tuition increases up to 5.5 percent, but others have indicated they are pushing for far smaller cuts. We will prepare to make our budget cuts on the assumption that there will be little to no tuition increases to help reduce the impact.”

Under the proposed budget, UW-Madison will receive a 12-percent reduction in its state funding, but also will receive autonomy from the University of Wisconsin system, Luljack said.

“This will give UW-Madison the ability to set their own tuition, establish their own pay plans for faculty and staff in addition to a number of other flexibilities,” he said.

According to Luljack, the budget also includes $250,000 for a study to explore the possibility of also spinning off UWM.

“Right now, there are a lot of unanswered questions in terms of that proposal,” Luljack said.

UWM will do its best to limit the impact of the reductions on students. However, realistically the school has already been operating extremely efficiently due to budget cuts in the last few plans, Luljack said.

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