Tag: financial reserves

October Board of Regents Meeting

uw system logoThe University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will meet at UW-Stevens Point Thursday and Friday, October 9 and 10. Livestream coverage of the meeting will be available here.

The regents will meet in committees Thursday morning:

The Education Committee will discuss updates on credit transfer agreements, changes to faculty bylaws at UW-Platteville, and the UW School of Medicine and Public Health Wisconsin Partnership program.

The Business and Finance Committee will discuss faculty and staff base salary adjustments for FY2014, faculty turnover, the financial management report, and the report of the funding allocation working group.

According to the agenda, 44 percent of faculty and instructional staff at UW-Madison received a non-promotion base salary adjustment averaging $8,772. Five percent of UW-Madison faculty received a lump sum payment averaging $2,772.

Seventy-four faculty members left UW-Madison last year; 31 retired and slightly more than half left the institution.

The funding allocation working group recommends that base funding should not be reallocated among institutions and each institution should retain its tuition dollars. The group also recommends that the president and board retain authority over the distribution of any new flexible state funding.

The Capital Planning and Budget Committee will discuss its priorities and goals and two additional capital budget projects for 2015-17.

The Research, Economic Development and Innovation Committee will hear an update on partnerships with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

The full board will meet Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. UW System President Ray Cross will introduce a report on program revenue balances and the board will hear an update on the Flexible Option on Thursday.

According to the program revenue report, UW-Madison has lowered its tuition balance by 41 percent, from $143 million in 2013 to $84.5 million in 2014. The fund balance was lowered from 14 percent of expenses to 8 percent, well under the 12 percent threshold implemented by the legislature earlier this year.

The regents will hear updates from staff and committees on Friday.


June Board of Regents Meeting

uw system logoThe University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents is meeting at UW-Milwaukee today and tomorrow, June 5 and 6. The regents will meet in committee Thursday morning and in full Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. Video and audio stream of the full meetings is available here.

Four new regents are participating in their first meeting — José Delgado, Eve Hall, UW-Madison student Nicolas Harsy, and UW-La Crosse student Anicka Purath.

The board will discuss the 2014-15 annual budget and begin discussion on the 2015-17 biennial budget process. UW System President Ray Cross told the Wisconsin State Journal he expects the current tuition freeze to continue into the 2015-17 biennium. Governor Scott Walker recently expressed support for a continued tuition freeze.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank has repeatedly said she would like to raise professional school tuition to levels similar to peer institutions, but Cross said the timing is not right for such an increase and tuition will be frozen for all undergraduate and graduate students, regardless of residency.

The board will also discuss plans to spend down financial reserves. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the current budget will spend down about 15 percent of the reserves, much of it coming from tuition reserves. UW System will carryover about $61 million in unspent tuition in 2014-15, down from $151 million one year ago.


Legislative Update

The 2013-14 regular legislative session ended last month and attention has shifted to fall elections.

PROFS was very active in the legislative process, registering positions on bills and maintaining regular contact with key legislators and staff on important issues like compensation, faculty governance, and funding for the university.

Classified Research AB 729, a bill that will allow classified research on UW System campuses, was signed into law. PROFS registered in favor of this bill.

Financial Reserves The legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance approved a revised plan for managing and disclosing UW System cash balances and fund reserves on May 6. The legislature directed UW System to develop a plan as part of the 2013-15 biennial budget (Act 20), and the Joint Committee on Audit requested additional changes after a plan was presented to them on November 20, 2013. The Board of Regents and audit committee approved those revisions, but the finance committee voted for several changes.

The finance committee-approved plan requires individual campuses that hold more than 12 percent of their total fiscal year expenditures in reserve to provide justification to the regents and submit a spending plan for tuition, auxiliary operations, general operations, and unrestricted program revenue. Campuses are not required to hold a minimum fund balance, but campuses with a deficit must report a savings plan to the regents. The plan approved by the regents and audit committee required minimum reserves of 10 percent and the reporting threshold was triggered when funds exceeded 15 percent of expenditures.

HR Design The legislature’s Joint Committee on Employment Relations approved new personnel plans for UW-Madison and UW System. The legislature directed the university to develop plans to be implemented by July 1, 2015 as part of the 2011-13 biennial budget, but never approved them. Chancellor Rebecca Blank told the committee she plans to request the authority to award merit raises, which are not currently allowed under state statutes.

Tuition Freeze Governor Scott Walker proposed an additional two-year freeze on University of Wisconsin System tuition. The governor said his proposal was a direct result of the recent disclosure that UW System will finish the current fiscal year with about $1 billion in reserve. Last year, the governor called for a two-year tuition freeze after the university was found to have just over $1 billion in reserve.

Voter ID Wisconsin’s voter ID law (2011 Wisconsin Act 23) was struck down April 29. United States District Judge Lynn Adelman wrote in his decision the law places an undue burden on minorities and the poor and violates the Voting Rights Act. Adelman’s ruling bars enforcement of the law. Governor Scott Walker said last month he could call the legislature into special session if the law was overturned, and State Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said he will appeal the decision. PROFS registered against AB 7, legislation that became the state’s voter ID law in 2011.

Fall Elections The legislature will experience its largest turnover since the 1970’s. Seven state senators and 22 members of the assembly have announced they will not run for reelection. Legislators must declare non-candidacy by May 23, and nomination papers must be filed by June 2.

The Legislative Reference Bureau has prepared a bulletin on tenure and turnover in the Wisconsin Legislature between 1940 and 2012.

Joint Committee on Finance to Discuss UW System Plan on Cash Balances

Joint Finance Committee Hearing RoomThe legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance will meet at noon tomorrow, Tuesday, May 6, to vote on more than a dozen requests for approval, including UW System’s plan for auxiliary reserves. The Joint Audit Committee approved a revised plan last month. The Legislative Fiscal Bureau analysis of the plan is here.

The committee will be asked to consider how the university accounts for federal indirect cost reimbursement. UW-Madison maintains a significant balance of those funds, which are not subject to a reporting threshold under the proposed guidelines.

The committee will meet in Room 412 East of the State Capitol. Audio and video coverage will be available on WisconsinEye.

Edited to reflect change in meeting time from 11 am to noon.

Joint Audit Committee Approves UW System Plan on Cash Balances

UW_Day_at_Capitol13_1390The legislature’s Joint Committee on Audit met yesterday and unanimously approved UW System’s plan for managing and disclosing cash balances and fund reserves. Campus financial reserves have been the subject of intense legislative scrutiny since April 2013 when the Legislative Fiscal Bureau reported UW System holds more than $650 million in reserve.

The legislature directed UW System to develop a plan as part of the 2013-15 biennial budget (Act 20), and the Legislative Audit Committee requested additional changes after a plan was presented to them on November 20, 2013. The Board of Regents approved those revisions earlier this month.

The revised plan requires individual campuses to hold between 10 and 15 percent of their total fiscal year expenditures in reserve. Campuses with less than 10 percent fund balances must report a savings plan to the regents, while campuses holding more than 15 percent fund balances must provide justification to the regents and submit a spending plan for tuition, auxiliary operations, general operations, and unrestricted program revenue.

Archived audio of the meeting is available