Departments and centers receive budget reduction instructions

On Jan. 21, department chairs and center directors received memos with their FY22 base budget reduction instructions. This follows Chancellor Blank’s October 2020 announcement that the estimated impact of the pandemic on UW-Madison would be $320 million due to lower revenues and increased costs. As a result, UW-Madison leaders distributed base-budget cuts for all 101-funded units that will begin in FY22.

The overall FY22 101 base-cut to CALS will be $2,709,293, based on CALS overall 101 budget of $64 million. These reductions follow one-time reductions of $2.06 million made to the CALS 101 budget during the current fiscal year.

For those units with fund 104 Extension funding, details on FY22 based cuts will be available in the coming weeks. Overall, the Extension base budget reductions to CALS as a whole are anticipated to be at a similar level of approximately 4.25 percent.

To meet the assigned cut to our base 101 budget, CALS used the following principles to distribute cuts among units:

  • Protect academic departments by distributing proportionally higher cuts to non-academic components, including centers and farm research support. While all academic departments will take some cuts, those reductions will be based on past performance in research and teaching.
  • Reduce farm research support and better align this resource to research activities by reducing support for fee-for-service activities.
  • Reduce 101 funding to special-purpose programs, including the Madison Initiative for Undergraduates and the Dairy Innovation Hub, in direct proportion to their fraction of the CALS budget.
  • Decrease 101 support for centers with the largest shares of that funding.
  • Protect CALS’s limited TA funding from any reductions to reduce negative impacts on instruction.

“The significant changes to our work during the past two semesters have required so much additional effort and resilience,” says VandenBosch. “I know making budget reductions is yet another difficult task to consider at the beginning of another unusual semester, but we have worked hard in the past several years to plan for our future and diversify our funding sources. It is my hope that our strategic planning efforts will smooth the path for these difficult decisions. Moreover, we will continue to rely on our strategic efforts as we make decisions for future investment.”

Following the principles above, comprising 66 percent of the total CALS budget, departments will be assessed 56 percent of the required reduction. More than one-fifth of the overall cut is realized by reducing fee-for-service supports from farm research operations. Other activities are reduced more or less proportionately according to the principles. Agricultural Research Stations, which received larger proportional reductions in prior budget cuts, will be reduced proportionately this time.

There are multiple ways units may address these reductions, including discontinuing or downsizing activities and transferring 101 salary funding to other sources of revenue. Fund 101 reductions must come from salary, not supplies and expenses, because we are required to return the fringe benefit savings along with direct salary savings.

Unit plans to eliminate or reduce positions in HR, finance, IT, academic advising, or academic staff instruction must be sent to Associate Dean for Business Services Angie Seitler in advance and include a plan for how the work will be covered. Plans to change staff to alternate funding sources will not require additional approvals.

Departments and centers will need to submit their plans by March 1, 2021. Academic department plans should describe how the budget reduction process follows Faculty Policies and Procedures. Associate Dean Seitler will schedule meetings with the department or center administrator and HR manager to review budget plans during the month of March. Implementation of proposed reductions can begin after the Dean’s Office approves the plan. We expect this process to be complete by April 2021.