CALS budget reduction targets for FY21 and FY22

This message from Dean Kate VandenBosch was e-mailed to all CALS faculty and staff on Nov. 16, 2020.

Dear Colleagues,

We recognize and appreciate all the valuable work being done under challenging circumstances this semester. I know many of you are aware of the fiscal difficulties posed to the university by the ongoing COVID pandemic and may be asking what that means for the college.

In her October 26, 2020, message to campus, Chancellor Blank detailed our current budget situation, estimating an overall institutional impact of $320 million in combined lower revenue and increased costs due to the pandemic. This shortfall covers the period from March of 2020 through the end of this fiscal year (June, 2021).

As the Chancellor noted, each school, college, and administrative unit will determine what strategies to employ to address immediate and long-term budget deficits and will have discretion to do so in the manner best suited to their particular situation.

There are two fund 101 reductions that need to be addressed. A one-time cut taken during our current fiscal year, followed by a base budget reduction beginning with FY22. Both will be taken from 101 funds. Reductions to CALS 104 funding through the Division of Extension are also expected and will follow a separate process.

The current-year reduction is obviously more time sensitive, and CALS must file a plan for meeting this one-time reduction with the UW-Madison Budget Office by Dec. 11, 2020. The base cut for next fiscal year will be considered as part of the standard budget process that begins in the early months of 2021.

We have been given a one-time reduction of $2,060,355. Note, however, that CALS will still receive additional 101 funding to support the Jan. 1 pay plan and other agreed upon salary increases.

The FY22 base-cut from CALS will be $2,709,293. We will present our plans for addressing that cut to Provost Scholz during the annual campus budget exercise that will begin next calendar year. We have been urged by campus leaders to make cuts strategically based on priorities, rather than equally across the board.

In advance of Dec. 11, we will be developing mechanisms to apportion cuts to CALS departments and units for the current fiscal year. This includes discussing the approach with department chairs at the monthly meeting on Nov. 23 and with the Academic Planning Council at their December meetings. Each CALS unit will receive a memo outlining their one-time cut for the current fiscal year in December, following campus approval of the college plan.

The CALS process for addressing the FY22 base-budget reduction will be announced in January. Each CALS unit will receive a memo with their base-reductions in January. Angie Seitler, associate dean for business services, will meet with each unit to discuss the base cuts as part of the standard, annual budget meeting.

I know this is difficult news coming during a period of uncertainty, change and extra effort, but I continue to be impressed with your resiliency as you adapted to changes in classrooms, labs and other operations. I am committed to working with the CALS community to address these new challenges.

Thank you,

Kate VandenBosch
Dean, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Director, Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station