Facing a more than $9 million structural deficit, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville announced Tuesday it will eliminate 111 positions, making the school the latest in the Universities of Wisconsin system to cut staff in order to balance its budget.
“In the next two days, we will be holding in-person meetings with 60 employees who will be notified of layoffs or non-renewals,” UW-Platteville Chancellor Tammy Evetovich wrote in an email to faculty and staff. “Additionally, we have permanently cut 31 open positions.”
Evetovich said the university is reducing its staff by more than 12 percent through a combination of layoffs, retirements and buyouts. The positions include 49 academic staff, 27 university staff, 20 limited appointments, 11 faculty retirements and four positions from other categories.
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By reorganizing and restructuring divisions and departments, including eliminating the 111 positions, Evetovich said the school has balanced its fiscal 2025 budget.
“While these changes are hard, please know they were informed by data and made strategically to focus on preserving student facing services and programs, eliminating duplicative functions, and adjusting employee categories to better align with enrollment changes over the last decade,” she wrote.
Faculty Senate Chair Charles Cornett, who is part of the budget task force, said there was good communication with administration, but everyone is apprehensive as news about the cuts begins to roll out over campus.
Layoff notice periods will be between three and 12 months, determined by employment classification and length of service in alignment with governing policies.
UW-Platteville follows other state campuses
The news of layoffs at UW-Platteville comes one week after UW-Oshkosh eliminated 200 staff members as that school grapples with a projected $18 million budget deficit.
UW-Oshkosh is eliminating about a sixth of its overall workforce, as 140 people received layoff notices Monday. Another 110 positions will disappear due to retirements or vacancies and a still-unknown number of contract-based adjunct professors and lecturers will not be renewed for this spring.
Budget deficits are not new for UW System schools. In 2015, Republicans in the Legislature and former Gov. Scott Walker passed a budget that included a $250 million cut to the university system.
That came with a freeze on residential undergraduate tuition increases imposed by the Legislature and a directive that the universities were to spend down their fund balances from tuition and other revenues to make up the difference.
Those factors, along with significant and prolonged enrollment declines, have left 10 of the state’s 13 universities with projected deficits of at least $60 million.
‘We have a perfect storm here’
Cornett said these issues in addition to UW-Platteville’s hiring of administrators led to the school’s deficit.
“The question is, especially in the face of the tuition freeze, how do we add the services very much needed for students, without additional income?” Cornett said. “We have a perfect storm here. We can’t simply keep cutting.”
GOP lawmakers are also blocking wage increases included in Wisconsin’s current budget from going into effect for 34,000 people who work for the state’s universities. That wage blockade is tied to lawmakers disapproval of the colleges’ diversity, equity and inclusion programs.
Editor’s note: Wisconsin Public Radio staff are employees of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
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