By Raymond Neupert, WSAU Radio
MARSHFIELD, Wis. (WSAU) -- State Representative Katrina Shankland and a number of other officials will be holding a roundtable discussion this morning at UW-Marshfield/Wood County to talk about the proposed cuts to the UW-System's budget.
Shankland says she's hoping to get valuable input on the cuts. "The UW Budget Roundtable will be an open forum for students, university faculty and staff, alumni, business owners, and community members to share how the UW System budget cuts will affect their work, their studies, and our local economy. We look forward to a vibrant discussion on how we can support UW-Marshfield/Wood County during the budget process and put our students and their families first." Those proposed cuts total around $300 million and Shankland says she's worried about the future effects, not just in the short term. "It will increase the cost of tuition, potentially, down the road. It will decrease the offerings of courses, and it will threaten faculty and staff positions on campuses. I know people are worried about losing their jobs."
She says that brain drain could be the worst part of the problem, as a number of educators and researchers are already planning and weighing their options should the cuts go through. "Not only will we lose of our best faculty, but we'll lose our ability to recruit people from other states, other universities." Shankland says the long term effects could mean a loss of research in the UW-System. "There's cutting edge research at UW Madison as well as other institutions. They're working on the ebola vaccine. UW-Stevens Point has an fantastic paper science program for example. These are all at risk with these extreme budget cuts."
Joining Shankland are Rep. Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire), the ranking Democratic member on the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities; and Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, Assembly Democratic Caucus Vice Chair (D-Milwaukee).
Today's round table starts at 10 am in Room 409 in the Helen Connor Laird Theatre and Fine Arts Building.