Budget update 1

VangI had the opportunity on Monday to testify before the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee on Monday during its stop at UW-Barron County in Rice Lake. My testimony was recorded and is available at http://youtu.be/rg97iNQ4-oI. But in short, I tried to make the points that the proposed state aid reduction contained in the 2015-17 is too large and would be imposed too quickly. I also emphasized that the proposed cut comes on the heels of a series of state aid reductions in previous budgets. The effect of these cuts already is being seen in the difficulty we are having in recruiting and retaining valuable faculty and staff, I told the committee.

I was pleased that a group of UW-Stout students made the trip to Rice Lake as well, and gave great testimony to the committee. The Stoutonia covered the meeting and the story is available at http://stoutonia-online.com/?p=1680. The Joint Finance Committee will start voting on amendments to the budget in early April, but it appears that the UW part of the budget won’t be addressed until much later in April or early May. We certainly will keep you apprised of budget developments as they occur.

Budget update 2

I sent out a memo earlier this week about a report issued by a subcommittee established by the Strategic Planning Commission to review more than 800 ideas submitted to a website set up to solicit ways to address our budget predicament. That report is available at https://www.uwstout.edu/parq/intranet/upload/Budget-Recommendations-Final.pdf. I want to emphasize what I said in the memo: This report is just the first step in a very long process to find ways to balance our budget for 2015-16 and beyond. The full Strategic Planning Group will review the report on April 3. Anything generated by the SPG will be reviewed by other stakeholders on campus and my Cabinet. Final budgetary decisions rest with me. For those who would be affected by recommendations in the report, please be assured that we will take into consideration all factors, including your comments, before final decisions are reached.

My inauguration

I know an invitation went out to campus earlier, but I want to personally invite all members of the campus community to join in the inaugural celebration at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 2, in the Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center. I plan to use this event to highlight the tremendous asset that UW-Stout is to the community, the region and the state, and to point out how lucky I am to work with such fantastic students, faculty and staff. A reception will follow in the Ballrooms. I want to thank the Stout University Foundation for stepping up to sponsor the inauguration and the reception, meaning that no tax or tuition dollars will be spent. I would be honored to have you attend this celebration.