The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Board votes against taxpayer amendment

The UW System Board of Regents passed a resolution March 16 opposing a proposed constitutional amendment they said would limit enrollment and raise tuition, according to a press release.

The Taxpayer Protection Amendment would put limitations on state revenues based on the Consumer Price Index. University tuition and fees would not be counted as part of the limit.

Regent Roger Axtell said the amendment would be “crippling” to the UW System, citing the $390 million in cuts to state funding the System has faced in the past six years.

“It seems clear to us that if the TPA is passed, it would seem that the System would get less and less money,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

Board president David G. Walsh said in a statement that the amendment’s potential consequences were not in the best interest of the public.

“Today’s action is part of our responsibility to make sure the state’s public university system is accessible to the maximum number of Wisconsin’s sons and daughters, provides them a quality higher education and meets the needs of all Wisconsin citizens,” he said of the resolution.

Freda Harris, UW System associate vice president for budget and planning estimated, according to the news release, that under the amendment, the System could see a $42 million shortfall in the 2007-08 fiscal year, the equivalent of a tuition increase of 11 percent.

She said that, hypothetically, with a 4 percent tuition increase, that would mean cutting enrollment by 10,000 full-time students.

Rep. Jeff Wood, R-Chippewa Falls, a co-sponsor of TPA, said the Board’s projections were based on a 4 percent increase in spending.

He said the Board sometimes “holds kids hostage” by saying they will have to decrease enrollment if students don’t pay more tuition.

“That’s the last thing we want to do,” Axtell said about decreasing enrollment.

Wood said he believes the Board could make better use of its money, saying the System has hired 1,000 non-faculty members in the past year.

Wood also said taxpayers don’t want to keep paying more money for a university system in which 20 percent of graduates leave the state.

“Raising taxes to produce fewer graduates is not the solution,” he said.

Axtell said the System has been losing many of its chancellors and provosts because of its inability to offer as much as they could earn at other schools.

He also said that if quality faculty members leave the System, the state will probably earn less grant money.

“We’re losing quality, we’re losing our top management people, and that’s because we aren’t competitive,” Axtell said. “We’re in a very critical situation right now.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Spectator intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. The Spectator does not allow anonymous comments and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Spectator Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Board votes against taxpayer amendment