PROFS, the La Follette School of Public Affairs, and ASPRO hosted a campus forum on the state budget on Friday, May 7. The forum featured State Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-West Point), State Senator Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) and Jason Stein, research director at the Wisconsin Policy Forum. Professor Susan Yackee of the La Follette School moderated the discussion.
This legislative update was shared with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Senate yesterday. The senate meets the first Monday of every month at 3:30 pm during the academic year, October through May, except in January. Guests are welcome to observe the livestreamed meetings and can find the link here.
PROFS will host a virtual forum to discuss the 2021-23 state budget at noon, Friday, May 7. This event is open to the public, but registration is required (below).
- State Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-West Point), member Joint Finance Committee
- State Senator Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield), member Joint Finance Committee
- Jason Stein, Research Director at the Wisconsin Policy Forum
Professor Susan Yackee, Director of the La Follette School of Public Affairs, will moderate.
Governor Tony Evers introduced a strong higher education budget, exceeding the UW System request by almost $100 million, but Republican leaders have said they plan to create their own budget in the Joint Finance Committee.
Evers’ proposal included the following:
- $190 million in new funding for UW System, including more than $50 million to fully fund the continuing freeze on in-state undergraduate tuition.
- $40 million over two years in unrestricted funding to address student needs and budget losses due to COVID-19.
- Borrowing authority that will give UW System the ability borrow funds for short-term academic and athletic expenses, long-sought budget tool that UW-Madison peers already have.
- Expansion of Bucky’s Tuition Promise to all UW System institutions, along with significant increases in other financial aid programs.
- $2 million for 15 additional county-based UW-Extension positions and 5 climate science research positions.
The governor also introduced a $2.4 billion capital budget, which includes almost $1 billion for UW System, but his proposal was deadlocked in the State Building Commission, leaving the Republican-led Joint Finance Committee to determine the capital budget.
UW-Madison has four major projects in Evers’ proposal:
- $88 million for a new College of Letters and Science building to replace the aging Mosse Humanities Building.
- $150 million for the first phase of a new College of Engineering building to replace the 82-year-old Computer Aided Engineering Center.
- $26 million for the restoration of the 140-year-old Music Hall.
- $73 million for underground utility work on the Engineering campus, an area prone to damaging floods
The Academic Staff Professionals Representation Organization (ASPRO) and the La Follette School of Public Affairs are cosponsors.
Forum Registration A Zoom link will be emailed to you the week of the event.
Tomorrow, the Wisconsin State Assembly is scheduled to vote on Assembly Joint Resolution 32, legislation that would declare April to be Freedom of Expression Month across Wisconsin. The resolution was introduced last week by State Representative Dave Murphy (R-Greenville) and State Senator André Jacque (R-De Pere). Murphy chairs the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities.
While PROFS is committed to the principles of free expression, it finds this resolution to be an attack on the state’s colleges and universities:
On Wednesday, Emeritus Professor Steve Ventura (Soil Science) testified at a public hearing of the Assembly Agriculture Committee in favor of Assembly Bill 77, legislation that provides $1 million per year in funding for state specialists in extension services at UW-Madison’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. The funding is to aid in applied agricultural research.
PROFS submitted the testimony below and Ventura, a former PROFS Steering Committee member, spoke about the importance of such funding.
In an executive session yesterday, the committee unanimously recommended passage of the bill. The next step is for the bill to be scheduled for a vote in the full Assembly.
Regents meet in committee Thursday morning:
- The Business and Finance Committee will discuss two agreements relating to UW-Madison and hear a presentation from UW-Madison entitled “Revenue Innovations and Real Estate Opportunities at UW-Madison.” The committee will also hear an update on federal COVID-19 assistance.
- The Education Committee will consider approval of two new degree programs, including a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering at UW-Madison. The committee will also hear updates on the expansion of online education, prison education and charter school funding. Host campus UW-Stout will also offer a presentation, Polytechnic FOCUS2030.
- The Audit Committee will hear reports related to internal audit and compliance.
- The Capital Planning and Budget Committee will consider a lease agreement at UW-Madison and construction projects at UW-Madison and UW System.The committee will also hear updates on State Building Commission action and the 2021-23 Capital Budget.
- The Research, Economic Development and Innovation Committee will hear a presentation from UW-Stout on how the university’s role as a polytechnic supports the state’s workforce and economic growth. The committee will also award three Regent Scholar Grants to professors at UW-Milwaukee, UW-Parkside and UW-Whitewater.
The full board meets Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. Thursday afternoon, the board will hear updates from the UW System Interim President Tommy Thompson and Board of Regents President Andrew Petersen and a presentation from UW-Stout Chancellor Katherine Frank before moving in to closed session.
On Friday, the board will approve committee action and hear a report on the expansion of online education at UW System. The Regents will also present the 2020 and 2021 Teaching Excellence Awards.