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I would like to take this opportunity to update you on the state budget lapse. As you may know, state agencies face an additional lapse of $270 million by June 30, 2009, to bring the state’s budget back into balance, and the University of Wisconsin System will contribute its share of $25 million to help address the additional shortfall while continuing to grow new jobs and broaden the tax base in ways that will help Wisconsin thrive.

I want to assure you that the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh will absorb these lapses in a manner that protects our students and preserves the Growth Agenda. We will continue to move forward with strategic efforts to increase enrollments and to stimulate economic growth in Northeast Wisconsin’s New North. We will make every effort to preserve the quality and service that people have come to expect from our institution.

It’s too early to know the exact impact that this lapse will have on us, but we have known that a lapse was coming, and we are prepared to meet this loss. Effective campus-wide budget planning and sound management of the 2007-08 budget, which resulted in savings due to travel cut backs, reduced energy consumption and controlled expenses through delayed searches, enables us to meet the lapse without cutting division and departmental 2008-09 budgets.

While it is very unfortunate that we have to redirect up to $1 million that otherwise could provide one-time funding to enhance the quality of the student-learning experience, we are obligated to do our fair share to help the state balance its budget.

I want to thank each of you for your patience, understanding and hard work during these difficult times.

Richard H. Wells