Message from Chancellor Watson on Wisconsin Biennial Budget
Dear Campus Colleagues,
As you know, the state of Wisconsin is in the early stages of developing its biennial budget. The official start of that process began Tuesday night with Gov. Tony Evers’ budget address to the state legislature.
On Tuesday evening, I issued the following statement to the media thanking Gov. Evers for his proposal:
When Wisconsin invests in its public universities, the dividends are outstanding. UW-Whitewater alone accounts for more than a half billion dollars in annual economic impact to the region, supporting more than 4,400 jobs. We provide an exceptional academic experience for students while keeping costs affordable. In addition, our role as a COVID-19 testing center shows that our service mission to the community has never been stronger. On behalf of the Warhawk family, I’d like to extend thanks to Governor Evers for this budget proposal, which represents not only an investment in higher education, but an investment in Wisconsin’s future.
Some key items for the UW System as proposed by Gov. Evers are:
- $39 million towards the establishment of the Wisconsin Tuition Promise, which would provide free tuition to students with family incomes below $60,000 to attend any 2- or 4-year institution in the UW System
- $10 million for student mental and behavioral health
- Funding for the System-wide Freshwater Collaborative
- A two percent pay plan increase for our faculty and staff in each year of the biennium
In the next few weeks, Gov. Evers will release the capital budget. UW-Whitewater has a key project that was proposed as part of the UW System capital budget — the renovation of Winther Hall and improvements to Heide Hall. I will continue to advocate for these projects. The renovation of Winther Hall is a critical project for our campus. Updating Winther will allow us to provide a positive learning environment for our future teachers, and allow us to continue leading the way in educating outstanding teachers who serve students, families and communities all across this state. As you all know, I am a passionate teacher education advocate and I am enthusiastic about how the enhancements to Winther will allow us to graduate teachers who are even more prepared for today’s classroom. Since we prepare more teachers per year then any other institution in the state, we need a premiere building to showcase our premiere teacher education programs.
I will be involved in advocating with our area legislators and other key legislators in support of these efforts. At UW-Whitewater, we have a powerful story to tell and I will be sharing that story with legislators and others who can help increase state support for the UW System and in turn, our university.
I will keep you informed as the budget process and our legislative advocacy moves forward.
Dr. Dwight C. Watson