Budget Reduction Planning

February Communication

2015-16 Resources

Chancellor Dennis J. Shields communication

Nov. 4, 2015 | Sept. 24, 2015 | Nov. 11, 2015 | Dec. 11, 2015
 

Dec. 11, 2015

Watch Chancellor Dennis J. Shields' video update on the university's budget reduction planning process.

Nov. 11, 2015

I offer my sincere appreciation to the members of Faculty Senate, Academic Staff Senate, University Staff Senate, Student Senate, University Budget Committee, University Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, and the Academic Planning Council for the time and effort given to making thoughtful recommendations to me regarding managing all phases of University base budget cuts. I also offer thanks to all who expressed opinions and generated ideas through forums and through email feedback.

The recommendations you have made will help to guide final decisions. Many of your recommendations will certainly be acted on. In the cases where I think that the long term best interests of the institution require a decision that deviates from the advice provided by the governance groups, I am compelled to provide an explanation of my thought process. So I will do so.

This will be an iterative process even though we are on a short timeline. When I communicate my draft decisions I will be open to further feedback and discussion. Specifically, I plan to meet with governance leaders in Mid-November, conduct an open forum before Thanksgiving, and follow up with governance leaders in December to get additional input or advice. Ultimately, I will need to finalize decisions by early January so that we have adequate time to act on them.

I look forward to that time in which budget cuts do not consume so much of our time and creative energy so we can devote that time and energy more fully to our students and their educational experience As in my November 9th email to the faculty, I paraphrase Abraham Lincoln ... We must endeavor to persevere.

Thank you again for your leadership and hard work on this very difficult task.

–Chancellor Dennis J. Shields



Nov. 4, 2015

As we continue addressing the University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s budget challenges, I thank everyone for the responses submitted thus far. It is encouraging to have so many people participate in thoughtful and productive dialogue and work together to meet the challenge.

If you have not already, I encourage you to share your recommendations with the senates, or email them to budgetfeedback@uwplatt.edu. As these reductions will affect all areas of the university, it is crucial that we work together in this process. As a reminder, no decisions have been made yet on the phase three reductions. Different scenarios have been discussed, and that is why your feedback is so important.

Feedback and recommendations will be sought until Nov. 9, with final recommendations made by the governance groups at that time. Based on this input, decisions will be finalized in January, and the 2016–17 budget will be submitted to UW System in April.  Details about the budget reduction planning process can be found online at www.uwplatt.edu/budget/2015-17-budget-reduction-planning-process.

Again, I thank you for your time and attention to these difficult decisions. I appreciate the hard work of the governance groups and all of those who have attended open forums and submitted feedback and recommendations. Your dedication to this process is a testament to the value this university places on our students and our commitment to excellence.
 



Sept. 24, 2015

Last April, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville announced a three-phase process to address the ongoing impact of the tuition freeze, a biennial shortfall, and reductions in state support. The first phase, completed last spring, addressed $4.4 million of the anticipated $10 million target, through a combination of reductions and revenue enhancements. All previous communication and information regarding these efforts can be found online.

At that time it was noted that information on four variables was needed as we proceeded. These were the final magnitude of the budget reductions to UW System and UW-Platteville, the response to the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program, the final amount of balances available at the end of 2014-15, and fall 2015 enrollment numbers. We have information on the first three of these variables and will soon have the enrollment information.

The second phase, initiated last April, included implementation of the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program and continued analysis of suggestions provided during the spring budget discussions to identify additional savings. Phase 2 decisions are close to completion and have resulted in $863,270 in expected savings. The implementation of these decisions, particularly related to the VSIP, will continue into 2016-17. UW-Platteville is now entering the option identification part of the third phase, during which, the university will continue to re-address, redefine and re-think the best way to use resources. The proposed Phase 3 reductions are now posted online and implementation will begin after January 2016.


This is a difficult topic to discuss and one that will affect everyone across all areas of the university’s human capital – the most important asset for UW-Platteville! Again, with that being said, this university must prioritize for the students and identify changes using a student focused approach. As an institution, it is very possible that this university will look different a year from now, but it is of the utmost importance that we be intentional and strategic in identifying priorities necessary for the stability of this community.

During Phase 1 of this process, many people provided suggestions for savings. Each suggestion has been thoroughly considered; some have been identified as providing savings and some appear to be cost neutral. Some are still pending review. A spreadsheet of all of the suggestions and the determined net savings of each can be found online.


We should be proud of the effort and thoughtful consideration, recommendations, and dialogue that members of the university provided last spring. Administration and leadership of this campus will continue to follow the same process during Phase 3. Everyone is encouraged to provide suggestions to budgetfeedback@uwplatt.edu or share with the senates. The three academic deans will initiate discussions with faculty, staff, and college governance groups to discuss majors, programs, and other budget reduction recommendations pertaining to the different colleges. Once the fall enrollment numbers are finalized, those numbers will be shared with the university community. The enrollment numbers do have financial implications on current and future finances. Please watch for the campus-wide open sessions that will be held prior to the October break.

Several important policy decisions are involved in this process. Feedback is needed from the four senates regarding, in particular:

- Should UW-Platteville focus on an additional $4.5 million or $6 million reduction for 2016-17?
- Is it a good idea to give people raises when we are laying people off?
- Is it a good idea to use carry over balances to balance the budget? Each year funds 102 and TSI are spent below 100 percent of the budget; the university could plan for this as part of its budget process by overcommitting and then capturing savings during the year.


Feedback and recommendations will be sought until Nov. 9, 2015, with final recommendations made by the governance groups at that time. Decisions will be made by mid-January 2016 based on this input. The 2016-17 budget will be submitted to UW System in April 2016. A more detailed timeline can be found online.

The VSIP, introduced to eligible employees in April, has 63 accepted offers, with anticipated savings of more than half a million dollars. This does not include the additional savings of benefits for those employees and their family members. More updates about the program are online.

In anticipation of the need to reposition the budget, we have been deliberate and methodical in spending, which has caused Program Revenue balances to grow. PR balances are needed to help ensure financial stability as we pursue reaccreditation by the Higher Learning Commission. Information on how our closing balances of $25 million PR balance are allocated is available online.

As the university moves forward, it is with a very humble thank you for the careful consideration and feedback so many members from the university community have provided. As the university realigns the budget, it is without question, everyone has maintained the priority of the students – as they always have been and will continue to be at the forefront of all campus decisions to ensure the university achieves the mission and vision of being the leading student-focused university for continued success in achieving excellence, creating opportunities, and empowering each individual.

Resources/Documents for phases 1–3 (*UPDATED 11.12.15)

Phase 3 reduction recommendations (downloadable excel)
Phase 3 timeline (PDF)
Phase 1 final recommendations (downloadable excel)
Voluntary Separation Incentive Program (PDF)
Senate Recommendations — Fall 2015 (downloadable excel)
  *This document includes budget recommendations from Faculty, Academic Staff, and University Staff senates.

Timeline

The timeline below outlines steps for UW-Platteville to review options to address the remaining budget reductions needed to align our operation budget with the amounts provided in the 2015–17 biennial budget. This addresses phase 2 and phase 3 of the planning that was announced in April 2015.

Sept. 24, 2015
–Distribute results of phase 1 and phase 2

–Distribute recommendations for phase 3 reductions to the four senates and the UW-Platteville community

–Provide additional information regarding policy issues of using carry over funds to balance the budget, the final target of $4.5 million or $6 million in additional reductions, and the appropriateness of giving raises while jobs are being eliminated

October 2015
–Distribute updated sixth-week enrollment numbers to the university community, in order to continue analyzing enrollment trends and assess course capacity and resource allocation

–Open sessions for discussion of the phase three reduction recommendations will be held prior to October break

Nov. 9, 2015
–Last day for feedback and recommendations from the four senates and the university community

January 2016
–Chancellor Dennis J. Shields makes decisions to finalize 2016-17 budget for UW System

March-April, 2016
–Open forums held in the spring semester to discuss the budget submitted to UW System

April 1, 2016
–Communicate UW-Platteville's proposed 2016-17 Annual Budget to UW System

Program Revenue Balance

UW System Resources


2014-15 Resources

Below are frequently asked questions and resources regarding UW-Platteville's 2015–17 budget reduction planning process.

Voluntary Separation Incentive Program

April 15 Budget Reduction/Revenue Plan

Budget Reduction Spreadsheet

April 15, 2015

Thank you to the campus community for your efforts in identifying ways to address our budget challenges. The feedback and advice provided by campus stakeholders in early March was critical to the process of determining how to create a budget that aligns with current limitations and our mission.

The review of recommendations has taken longer than expected. Initially we anticipated that the budget submission would be due to UW System on April 1. That date was moved back to April 15. The extra time from UW System allowed two pieces of information to be added to the review – the projected closing balances as of the end of March and action by Board of Regent’s on nonresident tuition for 2015-16.

The first set of decisions covered here represents the start of our work on our budgets for 2015-17. The reductions outlined below are in phase one in a three-phase process to deal with the ongoing impact of the tuition freeze, a biennial shortfall, and reductions in state support. These decisions aim to prioritize our expenditures to ensure the long-term health of UW-Platteville. As we proceed, whether it be budget reductions, compensation, capital projects, student enrollment, financial planning and/or entrepreneurial development, we will need to be strategic in our decisions to ensure short term (1-3 years) and longer term (4-10 years) goals best serve future generations. The vision of our current strategic plan, and the priorities it identified, will continue to guide and inform our work.

There will be several opportunities to discuss these decisions and the work that remains in the next few weeks. Open forum discussions will be held on Tuesday, April 21 at 9 a.m. in the Nohr Gallery, Ullsvik Hall; 4:15 p.m. in room 136 Doudna Hall; and April 27 at 10 a.m. in the University Rooms, Markee Pioneer Student Center.

To assist in reading this detailed document, here is a summary of the highlights. You can also go to the budget reduction spreadsheet to see the detailed information about the decisions and work that remains.

- UW-Platteville is an access institution. This is the basis of our mission, and we are recognized for our quality and return on investment.

- The university has many funding sources and circumstances that affect our budget.

- Budget decisions will be made in three phases over the next two years.

- The first phase of the budget reduction is complete, and addresses $4.4 million of the $10 million target through a combination of reductions and revenue enhancements. This is through cuts, transfers, new revenues, high priority investments and anticipated carryover budgets.

- Phases 2 and 3 will entail close study of shorter-term and longer-term issues such as outsourcing services, examination of the mix of majors and minors, streamlining general education, and other things that will likely result in additional reductions.

- A retirement incentive opportunity will be offered to eligible employees. The details will be announced Friday, April 17.

- We will explore voluntary employment flexibilities such as the reduction of 12-month to 9- or 10-month positions.

Level of Current Cuts and Revenue Enhancements

The specific budget reductions and transfers selected for implementation now are expected to save about $3.7 million in 2015-16. It will affect personnel. We will eliminate 22 vacant positions, convert six vacant tenure track positions to instructional academic staff, and transfer 23 positions to other funding sources. Examples of vacant positions include not hiring a compliance officer, eliminating one (vacant) grants officer position, and the elimination of positions in counseling psychology. Positions transferred permanently include several in the Academic and Career Advising Center. Positions transferred temporarily include several related to the operation of PACCE, and WASI. The budget program reductions include suspending the planned Driftless Center Initiative.

These and the other cuts are the first phase in aligning our budgets with the available resources in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

We will also be taking steps to generate additional revenues, estimated at $1.5 million. To do this, we will increase tuition for Tri-State Initiative students by $600. This is projected to generate about $900,000 in additional revenues. The premium charged to TSI students has not been increased since the program’s inception in 2004-05. Please note that, with the proposed budget reduction, we expect that TSI revenue will exceed general state supported tax dollars in 2015-16. The state’s support will decline to about $12.3 million, while TSI revenue is expected to be about $15 million. The state also provides about $12 million for energy costs and debt service on facilities.

A number of investments were shared for consideration in January. We will be moving forward with $793,000 in funding for these, including setting aside $181,000 to increase faculty compensation and $328,000 to strengthen our philanthropic efforts going forward. Both of these make our short term choices more difficult yet are needed investments.

Phases 2 and 3

We are using carryover funds from the 2014-15 budget to assist in the transition to being able to fully meet our budget cuts, and to allow for careful deliberation during Phases 2 and 3 of the process.

Phase 2 will begin today, April 15, 2015. We will continue to analyze the suggestions provided during the spring budget discussions to identify additional savings. These suggestions are included in the material posted online in the budget reduction spreadsheet. The reviews will take place between now and mid-March 2016.

Phase 3 will complete our work to reduce spending. It will begin in March 2016 and finish at the end of the 2016-17 year to align with the next two-year state budget (2017-19).

This phased approach will allow for careful deliberation and analysis of options to reduce programs (academic and non-academic). This deliberation and analysis will also be informed by:

- The final magnitude of the budget reductions to UW System and UW-Platteville.
- The response to the voluntary retirement/separation incentive program.
- The final amount of balances available at the end of 2014-15.
- The fall enrollment numbers.

Conclusion

I am greatly encouraged by the willingness of the governance groups at UW-Platteville to engage in the painful and intensely personal discussion of budgets and priorities. I am impressed every day with the passion, dedication and commitment of our faculty and staff to the university, our students, and the community.

I am grateful that our local legislators share our concerns and are working hard to minimize the magnitude of potential state budget cuts. Thank you to Senator Howard Marklein, Representative Travis Tranel and Representative Todd Novak for their engagement and support in this process.

I believe that it is in the best interest of our students and institution to use the three phases outlined above so that we are able to move carefully through thoughtful and effective changes. We do understand that everyone would like to maintain as many positions and functions as possible. We will do our best while keeping our mission at the forefront of our decision-making. Using the three-phase process outlined above, we can incorporate the best information with smart consideration to make effective choices.

Detailed information on the reductions, transfers, new revenues, and new investments are available in the budget reduction spreadsheet

Best,
Dennis J.  Shields 
Chancellor
University of Wisconsin-Platteville

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between the budget reductions and the proposed state budget?
​UW-Platteville currently is addressing the 2015-16 budget. It contains a $5 million structural budget deficit that requires action by June 30, 2015, the end of the fiscal year. Once this initial reduction is addressed, a second reduction is pending, contingent on action by the legislature. The current 2015-17 state biennium budget calls for a $150 million cut in each of the next two years for the entire UW System. It is anticipated that UW-Platteville’s share of the proposed budget will between $2 and $5 million annually (best and worst case scenarios).

How did UW-Platteville get into a structural deficit situation?
​The budget imbalance resulted from ongoing tuition freezes, increases in cost to continue, slowed enrollment growth in out-of-state students, and spending pressures in several areas. UW-Platteville also is investing in four important areas: continued funding for student scholarships, restructuring the UW-Platteville Foundation, faculty salaries, and adding two professors in the high demand area of mechanical engineering.

How were budget reductions determined?
​UW-Platteville administration identified the initial list of 89 possible reductions, and that list was vetted by the four shared governance senates: faculty, student, academic staff and classified staff senate. The governance groups submitted their recommendations to Chancellor Shields on March 2. Chancellor Shields is currently weighing the options and is scheduled to release the final budget reductions by the end of March. UW-Platteville must submit its final 2015-16 budget to UW System by April 15.

What does public authority mean and what would be its impact?
​The UW System would receive public authority status, eliminating some of the state regulations that now govern it. The system would have greater autonomy and flexibilities in purchasing and building projects, although the total savings has not yet been determined. UW System employees would not be considered state employees but public employees under this proposal, similar to UW Hospitals.

Much has been made of the faculty teaching load. What is the situation at UW-Platteville?
​A full 57 percent of UW-Platteville faculty are teaching 12 or more credit hours (example four courses of three credits). Those below 12 include department chairs, assistant or associate deans, and directors of schools and programs.

What is/was the timeline for these processes?
​• Budget reductions: The Chancellor’s senior staff developed 89 possibilities for reductions, and the list of those possibilities were distributed to campus Jan. 16. The campus community gave feedback to the four governance senates (faculty, academic staff, classified staff and student), who presented them to Chancellor Shields on March 2. The chancellor will then announce the final decisions by the end of March/beginning of April. He will communicate the university’s 2015-16 annual budget, which includes the $5 million reductions, to the UW System on April 15. The UW System Board of Regents, upon review, will approve the final budget July 9.

• 2015-17 proposed budget: Governor Scott Walker announced his preliminary 2015-17 budget to the state on Feb. 3. The state Joint Finance Committee discussed the impact of the $150 million annual cut with the UW System Board of Regents March. 3. The 2015-17 biennial budget will be finalized sometime in June, if past budget schedules hold. The fiscal year begins July 1.

How long will tuition be frozen?
​Tuition, which has not risen in two years, will remain the same for at least the next two years under the proposed budget.

Are there other ways to raise revenue?
​All options of additional revenue are being explored, and campus input has been solicited. It is hard to raise enough to cover the $5 million in reductions and whatever the final number is in the 2015-17 budget, so cuts seem inevitable.

What about private donations?
​UW-Platteville is very fortunate to have such a large amount of donors, but most donors give to specific projects, such as scholarships. Those are very worthy causes, and the university cannot nor would not divert that money from the donors’ intentions.

Why can’t we use our reserve?
​While it’s true that UW-Platteville carries a $22 million surplus (which should shrink to around $17 million after this year), that surplus contains mainly designated funds for projects. A very small portion of that surplus could be used, and one-time use of cash balances would not cover permanent budget reductions.

Have we worked with our representatives?
​Senator Howard Marklein, Representative Travis Tranel and Representative Todd Novak have been very supportive and have all visited campus as well as received our visits in Madison. In addition, Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch recently spent time with students, faculty and staff in Russell Hall, Engineering Hall and Ottensman Hall.

Can we lobby as groups or individuals?
​UW-Platteville has individuals designated as lobbyists, and such, only those individuals may use company time and resources to lobby government officials. All other individuals or groups are prohibited from using university time and resources (including emails, phones, paper, envelopes, etc.) to lobby. Individuals are free to express their views off university time without using any UW-Platteville resources. (See https://www.wisconsin.edu/government-relations/download/PoliticalActivitiesonCampusGuidance.pdf)

Bottom line, how will this impact students, faculty and staff, and the community?
​• Students: For almost 150 years, the university’s mission has been to provide an affordable, accessible and high-quality education, and that mission will remain unchanged. Great pains have been taken to inflict as little change on the learning experience as possible. One of the most noticeable changes would be to roll the media studies major into the School of Business, eliminating the need to replace the (retiring) chair position.

​• Faculty and staff: Unfortunately, up to 70 positions may be eliminated in the first reduction plan, with more potential cuts after the proposed budget is finalized. Many of these are vacant positions that will not be filled, forcing faculty and staff to absorb more duties, but some people will ultimately be laid off.

• Community: The loss of up to 70 jobs in the university reductions will have a large impact in the tri-state area. According to a 2013 study, UW-Platteville had an estimated $394 million impact in Wisconsin in 2011-12, including $275 million in the southwest portion of the state. Households spent an estimated $61.2 million for goods and services in Southwest Wisconsin, while students spent $50.4 million and visitors $7.8 million. The university itself spent $3.1 for supplies and capital equipment.

Timeline

Jan. 16, 2015: Distribute recommendations to UW-Platteville community
Feb. 3, 2015: Governor Walker's 2015–17 Budget Address
March 2, 2015: Governance groups provide feedback and recommendations to the chancellor
March 13, 2015: Finalize 2015–16 budget for UW System—final decisions on recommendations to address the structural imbalance
March 2015: Building Commission review of Capital Budget Requests—recommendations are sent to Joint Committee on Finance for consideration
March through May 2015: Legislative development of 2015–17 Biennial Budget
April 15, 2015: Communicate UW-Platteville's proposed 2015–16 Annual Budget to UW System
June 2015 (estimate): 2015–17 Biennial Budget finalized—Governor signs, with any vetoes, and legislative review of vetoes complete
July 1, 2015: New fiscal year starts
July 9, 2015: UW-Platteville 2015–16 budget approved by Board of Regents

Chancellor Dennis J. Shields' communication

Jan. 27, 2015 | April 6, 2015 | April 15, 2015 | May 22, 2015 | June 1, 2015 | July 13, 2015 | Aug. 27, 2015

Message from Chancellor Dennis J. Shields - July 13, 2015
Now that Wisconsin’s 2015-17 budget was passed by the senate and assembly and signed by Gov. Scott Walker yesterday, the next question is: what does this mean for UW-Platteville?

The UW System budget was reduced by $250 million over the next biennium, rather than the initial proposal of $300 million. Instead of our reduction share being $5 million, it is closer to $3.5 million. Through thoughtful discussions and input from our governance groups over the past seven months, we have been preparing for these reductions and the previous $5 million structural deficit through a three-phased approach. Much of phase one has already been enacted, or will be over the course of the next year, addressing roughly $4.4 million for 2015-16. One of the long-term goals is to ensure we are in good fiscal shape for not just the immediate biennium but also for the 2017-19 budget. I anticipate that the trend of reduced state support will continue due to the many pressures on state funding. As we did in January, we will be asking for university input on all proposed measures.

The Voluntary Separation Incentive Plan is underway. Eighty-three eligible UW-Platteville faculty and staff met with Human Resources to review their paperwork and see how they would be impacted by this plan. They have until Aug. 1 to make their decisions. So far, 19 people have filed for early separation.

More information about the budget process, along with phases two and three, can be found at http://www.uwplatt.edu/budget/2015–17-budget-reduction-planning-process.

The Williams Fieldhouse expansion project was approved in this budget. The expansion, paid for by students, will add 49,600 gross square feet on the west side of the building and boost wellness, fitness and recreation opportunities. Four multi-purpose indoor athletic courts, expansion of the wellness center, athletic training facilities, lockers, showers and restrooms are included, as is an outdoor multi-sport artificial turf field with lighting. The outdoor field is bordered by Championship Drive, Jay Street and Southwest Road.

Also this summer, renovation on Dobson Hall is ongoing. The 50-year-old residence hall is being modernized to include among other things, an elevator for accessibility. Melcher Hall is scheduled to undergo a similar renovation next summer.

It is important that while we deal with the budget reductions and their implications, we continue to move forward to provide the same affordable, accessible and high quality education that has been the standard of this university for the past 150 years.

Sincerely,
Chancellor Dennis J. Shields University of Wisconsin-Platteville


Message from Chancellor Dennis J. Shields - June 1, 2015
The State of Wisconsin’s Joint Committee on Finance acted on the UW System budget Friday, making a motion for the full legislature to vote upon later this month or early next when finalizing the 2015-17 biennial budget. Although this motion is far ranging and will take time to fully review and understand – there are 70 items in it -there are several elements I will address today because or their immediate importance to UW-Platteville and the UW System.

Item: The JFC motion includes a $250 million reduction to the UW System.

The reduction in Governor Scott Walker’s proposed $300 million budget cut is welcomed. However, $125 million in annual reductions is still a very significant cut at a time when the majority of other states are increasing funding for higher education. The UW System Board of Regents will determine the impact of the reduction for UW-Platteville in the upcoming months, with a final 2015-16 budget set at the July meeting in Madison. We will proceed with phases two and three of our budget planning this summer and fall, following the recommendations and feedback from the campus community. (See http://www.uwplatt.edu/budget/2015–17-budget-reduction-planning-process for more information.)

Item: The JFC motion includes removing tenure from state statutes as well as making the governance groups advisory in nature.

If shared governance did not exist, as a chancellor I would have to create the same mechanism in order to lead this university. No university would have the capacity to further its educational mission without full consultation with its faculty, students and staff on the important matters of its operations. Tenure is essential in higher education.  A well-executed tenure process and the ability of faculty to guide the hiring of their peers, to command control of the curriculum, and the ability to speak without fear of repercussion on matters of importance to learning, teaching, and the issues confronting an institution of higher learning is a core principle of the academy. I will work with the board, our system leadership, and our university community to ensure that shared governance and tenure remain a part of our ethos at this university.

In January, the board of regents made clear their commitment to these two bedrock principles of good governance for universities and in preparation for a public authority, the board of regents formed a committee to define tenure and shared governance in this new structure. In light of the recent action by the Joint Finance Committee, the board of regents recommitted to moving forward in engaging with our faculty, academic staff, and students on this important topic.

Item: The JFC motion deleted the governor’s proposal to convert UW System into a public authority.

The elimination of the proposed public authority is appropriate given the many questions surrounding it. However, the potential for a new relationship between state government and the UW System campuses needs continued discussion. Several important flexibilities that were part of the proposed authority were provided by the committee, including purchasing, cash management, and leasing. These will not offset the budget reduction but do reflect that operating a university system is different from operating a state agency.

Going Forward

I thank our elected officials, Senator Howard Marklein, Representative Travis Tranel, and Representative Todd Novak, for their efforts on behalf of UW-Platteville and the region. They listened carefully to our concerns and ideas and worked to incorporate what was possible at this time. I greatly appreciate their help and recognize that they have a very difficult job ahead in finalizing the 2015-17 state budget. I look forward to continuing to work with them to ensure a strong future for Southwest Wisconsin, UW-Platteville, and the entire UW System.

As for the Pioneer Family, I thank you for your continued engagement in this process. We will continue to update you on the budget and encourage you to ask questions and offer feedback. We still face a large challenge in front of us, but we are determined to go forward and provide the same affordable and accessible high quality education that we have for nearly 150 years.

Dennis J. Shields
Chancellor
University of Wisconsin–Platteville


Message from Chancellor Dennis J. Shields - May 22, 2015
Greetings:

UW-Platteville recently held our 194th graduation ceremony in which we granted over 1,000 undergraduate and graduate degrees to candidates in a variety of fields.  We were pleased to have the opportunity to celebrate the success of the university at satisfying its mission to provide affordable accessible education to students from Wisconsin, the tri state area and beyond.  We hope that you are celebrating with us.

In order to maintain the success of this university and its mission we need your help.  We need you to reach out to your local elected officials and let them know that you think that funding for higher education in this state, including UW-Platteville, is a high priority.

Thank you to those of you who have already reached out to your legislator by phone, snail mail, email, or in person.  By voicing your opinion you help to ensure that your children and grandchildren have access to a strong University system to rely on in the future. 

If you have not yet had the opportunity to do so, and you are at all inclined, we at the university respectfully urge you to do so, because now is the time. As early as next week, our state legislature will meet to finalize the annual budget which we anticipate will result in significant cuts to the UW-System.

When you talk with your legislator we hope that you will voice your support for all or part of three important issues:  1. It would be a win for the university system if the amount that we expect to be cut from the budget, $300 million, were to be reduced; 2. It would be beneficial to the system campuses if the legislature grants the necessary flexibility for institutions to manage in the face of decreased state support and; 3. We need the legislature to identify a steady funding stream to create budget certainty for the future.

We appreciate your dedication to the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. By contacting your local elected representatives at this critical time, you will help in our effort to make every day a great day to be a Pioneer!


Dennis J. Shields
Chancellor
University of Wisconsin-Platteville


Message from Chancellor Dennis J. Shields - April 15, 2015
Thank you to the campus community for your efforts in identifying ways to address our budget challenges. The feedback and advice provided by campus stakeholders in early March was critical to the process of determining how to create a budget that aligns with current limitations and our mission.

The review of recommendations has taken longer than expected. Initially we anticipated that the budget submission would be due to UW System on April 1. That date was moved back to April 15. The extra time from UW System allowed two pieces of information to be added to the review – the projected closing balances as of the end of March and action by Board of Regent’s on nonresident tuition for 2015-16.

The first set of decisions covered here represents the start of our work on our budgets for 2015-17. The reductions outlined below are in phase one in a three-phase process to deal with the ongoing impact of the tuition freeze, a biennial shortfall, and reductions in state support. These decisions aim to prioritize our expenditures to ensure the long-term health of UW-Platteville. As we proceed, whether it be budget reductions, compensation, capital projects, student enrollment, financial planning and/or entrepreneurial development, we will need to be strategic in our decisions to ensure short term (1-3 years) and longer term (4-10 years) goals best serve future generations. The vision of our current strategic plan, and the priorities it identified, will continue to guide and inform our work.

There will be several opportunities to discuss these decisions and the work that remains in the next few weeks. Open forum discussions will be held on Tuesday, April 21 at 9 a.m. in the Nohr Gallery, Ullsvik Hall; 4:15 p.m. in room 136 Doudna Hall; and April 27 at 10 a.m. in the University Rooms, Markee Pioneer Student Center.

To assist in reading this detailed document, here is a summary of the highlights. You can also go to the budget reduction spreadsheet to see the detailed information about the decisions and work that remains.

- UW-Platteville is an access institution. This is the basis of our mission, and we are recognized for our quality and return on investment.

- The university has many funding sources and circumstances that affect our budget.

- Budget decisions will be made in three phases over the next two years.

- The first phase of the budget reduction is complete, and addresses $4.4 million of the $10 million target through a combination of reductions and revenue enhancements. This is through cuts, transfers, new revenues, high priority investments and anticipated carryover budgets.

- Phases 2 and 3 will entail close study of shorter-term and longer-term issues such as outsourcing services, examination of the mix of majors and minors, streamlining general education, and other things that will likely result in additional reductions.

- A retirement incentive opportunity will be offered to eligible employees. The details will be announced Friday, April 17.

- We will explore voluntary employment flexibilities such as the reduction of 12-month to 9- or 10-month positions.

Level of Current Cuts and Revenue Enhancements

The specific budget reductions and transfers selected for implementation now are expected to save about $3.7 million in 2015-16. It will affect personnel. We will eliminate 22 vacant positions, convert six vacant tenure track positions to instructional academic staff, and transfer 23 positions to other funding sources. Examples of vacant positions include not hiring a compliance officer, eliminating one (vacant) grants officer position, and the elimination of positions in counseling psychology. Positions transferred permanently include several in the Academic and Career Advising Center. Positions transferred temporarily include several related to the operation of PACCE, and WASI. The budget program reductions include suspending the planned Driftless Center Initiative.

These and the other cuts are the first phase in aligning our budgets with the available resources in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

We will also be taking steps to generate additional revenues, estimated at $1.5 million. To do this, we will increase tuition for Tri-State Initiative students by $600. This is projected to generate about $900,000 in additional revenues. The premium charged to TSI students has not been increased since the program’s inception in 2004-05. Please note that, with the proposed budget reduction, we expect that TSI revenue will exceed general state supported tax dollars in 2015-16. The state’s support will decline to about $12.3 million, while TSI revenue is expected to be about $15 million. The state also provides about $12 million for energy costs and debt service on facilities.

A number of investments were shared for consideration in January. We will be moving forward with $793,000 in funding for these, including setting aside $181,000 to increase faculty compensation and $328,000 to strengthen our philanthropic efforts going forward. Both of these make our short term choices more difficult yet are needed investments.

Phases 2 and 3

We are using carryover funds from the 2014-15 budget to assist in the transition to being able to fully meet our budget cuts, and to allow for careful deliberation during Phases 2 and 3 of the process.

Phase 2 will begin today, April 15, 2015. We will continue to analyze the suggestions provided during the spring budget discussions to identify additional savings. These suggestions are included in the material posted online in the budget reduction spreadsheet. The reviews will take place between now and mid-March 2016.

Phase 3 will complete our work to reduce spending. It will begin in March 2016 and finish at the end of the 2016-17 year to align with the next two-year state budget (2017-19).

This phased approach will allow for careful deliberation and analysis of options to reduce programs (academic and non-academic). This deliberation and analysis will also be informed by:

- The final magnitude of the budget reductions to UW System and UW-Platteville.
- The response to the voluntary retirement/separation incentive program.
- The final amount of balances available at the end of 2014-15.
- The fall enrollment numbers.

Conclusion

I am greatly encouraged by the willingness of the governance groups at UW-Platteville to engage in the painful and intensely personal discussion of budgets and priorities. I am impressed every day with the passion, dedication and commitment of our faculty and staff to the university, our students, and the community.

I am grateful that our local legislators share our concerns and are working hard to minimize the magnitude of potential state budget cuts. Thank you to Senator Howard Marklein, Representative Travis Tranel and Representative Todd Novak for their engagement and support in this process.

I believe that it is in the best interest of our students and institution to use the three phases outlined above so that we are able to move carefully through thoughtful and effective changes. We do understand that everyone would like to maintain as many positions and functions as possible. We will do our best while keeping our mission at the forefront of our decision-making. Using the three-phase process outlined above, we can incorporate the best information with smart consideration to make effective choices.

Detailed information on the reductions, transfers, new revenues, and new investments are available in the budget reduction spreadsheet

Best,
Dennis J.  Shields 
Chancellor
University of Wisconsin-Platteville


Message from Chancellor Dennis J. Shields - April 6, 2015

I am extraordinarily proud of the effort, energy and insight that the various university constituencies brought to bear on developing responses to our budget challenges. It has been a difficult few months for everyone as we have worked to address these budget reductions. I am proud of how folks rolled up their sleeves to get the job done.

We are facing a $5 million structural budget deficit that requires action by June 30, 2015, the end of the fiscal year. Once this initial reduction is addressed, we are faced with a second reduction in spending, contingent on action by the state legislature. The number initially proposed in the 2015-17 state biennium budget called for a $150 million cut in each of the next two years for the entire UW System. It is anticipated that UW-Platteville’s share of the proposed budget will between $2 and $5 million annually (best and worst case scenarios).

I believe it is prudent to prepare for the worst-case scenario. The last several weeks, I have been carefully studying the budget reduction recommendations made by our shared governance groups: Faculty Senate, Student Senate, Academic Staff Senate, Classified Staff Senate and the University Academic Budget Committee. I commend these governance bodies, especially their leaders, for all the hard work they have put into this project. I also thank you, the Pioneer Family, for engaging with this challenging process and for providing extensive oral and written feedback.

The next step is a final review with senior administration. Final decisions will be made by Wednesday, April 15, 2015. These decisions will be communicated to the campus community regarding the $10 million in reductions.

For almost 150 years, the university’s mission has been to provide an affordable, accessible and high-quality education, and that mission will remain unchanged.  In these deliberations, the utmost attention is being paid to ensure that the steps needed to address the current financial challenges do not significantly impair our ability to continue to execute our educational mission. Our students have been, and always will be, at the forefront of all our decisions. We will overcome the obstacles we have in front of us and continue to be a leader for Southwest Wisconsin, the tri-state area and beyond.
 


Statement from Chancellor Dennis J. Shields - Jan. 27, 2015
​The proposed reductions in state funding to the UW System are an immediate concern to me because of the consequences they will have on our campus.  While all the details are not yet known, Governor Walker’s proposed $300 million cut over the next two years will adversely impact our students and our community.  For us at UW-Platteville, this proposal could mean a reduction of over $4.5 million from the $17 million in discretionary state support received in 2014-15. The state also provides funds dedicated to paying for energy costs and past construction, but these cannot be used to mitigate this budget cut. These cuts will be on top of those being implemented now to reflect the continued tuition freeze and outcomes of the current two-year budget.

I do welcome the additional flexibilities that are proposed and feel that these will be beneficial for the UW System in the longer term. As an institution that receives only 16 percent of its revenue from the state in 2014-15, UW-Platteville’s ability to respond faster to students and employers will be valuable. I look forward to working with the Board of Regents to move to a new authority while remaining accountable for our results.

This is the first step in the development of the state’s 2015-17 budget. As we learn more details about the governor’s  budget, the proposed reductions and new authority, and as the legislature does its work, I will continue to keep governance groups and the university community informed.

Budget reductions are not a fun topic, nor are the potential losses of positions and programs. I personally thank you for the careful consideration and feedback you have given to the pressing matter of those reductions already proposed. We will solicit the same kind of input into any future budget corrections we will be forced to make. These will undoubtedly be some challenging times ahead, but we are committed to advocating our cause to the highest levels.​

UW System response

Open forum resource

View or download the PowerPoint used in the January 2015 open forums for more information regarding timeline, process, and more.

UIC: Budget Reduction Quick Link

Planning Documents

Budget reduction planning documents and recommendations from the senates are available on the UW-Platteville 2014-15 Deficit Proposals webpage.

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