Davis, Harden talk budget with faculty, staff
UW System Regent Stan Davis — an attorney and former Doyle Administration legal counsel who also serves as president of the Wisconsin Technical College System — joined UW-Green Bay Chancellor Tom Harden for a state budget update in the Christie Theatre on Friday.
The two offered an overview and also responded to questions from an audience of about 125 faculty and staff members during the hour-long session.
Davis opened the program by noting the “huge burden” that state employee are being asked to shoulder in solving the state’s projected $3.6 billion budget deficit. “Why should all of you bear that disproportionate share of balancing the budget?,” Davis asked, answering, “You shouldn’t. Your compensation did not cause the deficit… it’s the economic downturn and the sudden decline in tax receipts.”
Both he and Harden talked extensively about the need for elected officials to consider the Regents proposal for the Wisconsin Idea Partnership — a series of new administrative flexibilities that could offer campuses at least partial relief from problems associated with declining state financial support.
“These aren’t new ideas,” Harden said of the proposed management efficiencies. “We have been trying for some time to get these flexibilities.”
In response to a question about inadequate pay in general and faculty salary compression in particular — new hires coming in at rates above tenured professors with a decade or more of experience — Harden and Davis suggested the Wisconsin Idea Partnership’s “block grant” approach could offer hope. By saving money in utilities, for instance, funds could be redirected for such higher priorities. Current policies make it difficult to transfer such savings.
Harden reiterated that even though UW System schools each face an 11 percent cut in state support, even apart from the employee benefit reductions, UW-Green Bay should be able to address that reduction without employee layoffs. He said continuing cost-saving measures and modest increases in tuition revenue should cover most of the shortfall.
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Photos by Robert Hornacek,
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- Find out more about the Wisconsin Idea Partnership on the UW System’s site
- Overview of the Wisconsin Idea Partnership (WIP) and potential statutory language [PDF]
- Side-by-side comparison of WIP, the New Badger Partnership, and current law [PDF]