University of Wisconsin System Budget Request

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau released the Overview of State Agency Major Request Items Wednesday. The University of Wisconsin System budget request is part of the document. As reported earlier this year, System’s budget request is modest — a 1.9 percent increase over the current biennium.

Most of the new money in the request ($17.8 million) is to fund initiatives to improve institutional performance, such as number of degrees awarded, time-to-degree, graduation and retention rates, and access. Funding was also requested to assist in the implementation of the Flexible Option. The Fiscal Bureau analysis of UW System’s request is here.

UW System also requested several changes to statutory language as it relates to compensation and purchasing authority. These changes were recommended by the Special Task Force on UW Restructuring and Operational Flexibilities in its final report released in August.

The first change would authorize the Board of Regents and the chancellor of UW-Madison to approve compensation plans for faculty and staff. Currently, the regents make recommendations to the director the Office of State Employment Relations. The university is also seeking statutory language that would allow the regents to offer faculty and academic staff merit raises once the new personnel systems are implemented on July 1, 2013. Finally, the request seeks language that would shift university purchasing authority from the Department of Administration to the Board of Regents.

Governor Scott Walker is expected to release his budget, which may or may not include these requests, in late January or early February. The Joint Committee on Finance will then begin their deliberations with a handful of public hearings, followed by several weeks of committee work. The entire budget process is expected to last until late June.