Governor’s budget proposal a good first step; gymnast shines; wishing Mark Parsons the best

In advance of his formal budget introduction Thursday, Gov. Tony Evers has released the outline of his 2019-21 proposal for the UW System. The budget includes a $43.69 million funding increase for 2019-20 and another $65.99 million increase for the second year of the biennium.

The governor also wants the UW System to get $40.4 million over the biennium to pay for its share of a proposed pay increase: a 2 percent increase on July 1; and another 2 percent on July 1, 2020.

Of the new money, UW-Stout would benefit from a $45 million increase for so-called “capacity building” initiatives. UW-Stout has submitted a proposal, in excess of $800,000, to add faculty in computer science, computer networking and applied mathematics; expand engineering programs; and allow our Career Services office to create more internship and co-op experiences.

The campus also would share in a $50.4 million allocation to replace money that would be lost by continuing the tuition freeze for another two years. The budget proposal can be viewed here.

These are positive proposals for UW-Stout and the UW System, and I thank Gov. Evers for making the UW System a priority in his first budget. However, we know that these proposals are just the first step in the state budget process. I and two other UW-Stout representatives were in the Capitol last Wednesday as part of the Chippewa Valley Rally and had a chance to discuss our budget priorities with various legislators from both parties.

The governor’s proposal certainly aligns with those priorities. We will continue to make the case with legislators for increased wages for our faculty and staff and additional funding to ensure that we continue to provide a quality education for our students. We also will keep the campus informed as the budget process unwinds this year.

Gymnast accomplishes a first

I wanted to bring to your attention an amazing feat accomplished last Friday by UW-Stout gymnast Shadae Boone. Competing at UW-La Crosse, she scored at 9.60 by becoming the second-ever Division III gymnast to complete the Yurchenko layout 1 ½. She also was selected as the WIAC gymnastics specialist of the week for the second time this season.

I’m not going to try to convince you I know anything about gymnastics — my daughters were swimmers in high school — but given the viral reaction on social media to this accomplishment, I know it is something for the ages.

I highly recommend you go to our Facebook page and watch the vault for yourself!

UW-Stout Blue Devils Gymnastics vs. Winona St.

A fitting send-off for Mark Parsons

We held a grand party Friday for Mark Parsons, who is retiring as our vice chancellor for Advancement and University Marketing. His last day on campus is Tuesday.

I am pleased so many people stopped by at the Louis Smith Tainter House to congratulate Mark on his retirement and to thank him for his exceptional service to the campus. I certainly want to echo those sentiments and wish Mark and his wife Kathy all the best in retirement.