UW-Milwaukee administrators officially revealed their retirement incentive package along with a series of initiatives which may be implemented to help mitigate any damage the proposed budget cut may bring.
During today’s budget forum Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administrative affairs Robin Van Harpen discussed the proposed Voluntary Separation Incentive Plan (VISP) that would allow faculty and staff who meet the requirements to retire with a one-time buyout for 50 percent of an employee’s base salary.
According to Van Harpen, some of the goals for the VISP are to reduce salary, wage and benefit costs along with minimizing “involuntary terminations.” Chancellor Mark Mone announced that VSIP may save $1.5-2 million.
“That’s just one measure of many,” said Mone.
Van Harpen noted that the prospect of increased class sizes due to faculty vacancies is a “fair implication” of the program.
Those eligible for the VISP would have to be vested in the Wisconsin Retirement System and be eligible for a full annuity as of July 1, 2015. According to Van Harpen, the age requirements for the program would be those that are 65 years and older with five years of service, or 57 years and older with 30 years of service.
Van Harpen stated that not all departments will participate in the program. Administrators will evaluate whether or not the incentive is financially viable for every department and make their decisions accordingly.
Along with the retirement incentive, administrators talked about tuition increases for out-of-state and graduate programs to 2.5 percent, which the UW System Board of Regents approved on Friday. The increase would amount to $1.7 million in savings, and will not apply to Midwest Student Exchange Program States (MSEP), or in-state students.
The administration also said that furloughs are still in discussion. If UWM applies the maximum legally allowed furlough, being 8 days for 12 month employees and 6 days employees, the maximum savings would be $6 million dollars.
“We are intentionally taking a thoughtful and methodical approach,” said Van Harpen, “and this work takes time.”
Van Harpen said that the UWM projected budget shortfall for the fiscal year of 2016 will be $23,290,000, in the event that the Governor Walker’s budget is passed as currently written.
The projected shortfall for fiscal year 2017 is a slightly lower $21,260,000.
“Were dealing with a situation we didn’t ask for,” said Chancellor Mark Mone, “but were gonna find the best ways to manage through this.”
Van Harpen laid out a series of targets for the one-time cuts that may be enacted, pending confirmation on the magnitude of the budget.
The largest distribution of the possible cuts is a $13 million cut to academic affairs. It was also revealed that student affairs could receive a $5 million cut and finance and administrative affairs could receive a $4 million cut.
The budget task force has requested financial scenarios from the various units regarding the impact these possible cuts may have.
“Recognize, we don’t know the size of the final cut,” said Mone.
Tom Luljak, Vice Chancellor for University Relations, announced that UWM is officially launching its social media campaign using the hashtag #vital. Luljak encouraged students and faculty to take pictures wearing a “UWM Vital to the Future” sticker and post it to their social media with using #vital.
The next budget meeting will be held May 8 from 9-10p.m in Bolton hall room 150.