Weather Forecast


Letter: Attacking university system seems twisted and harmful

Gov. Walker is on another mission, this time to undermine the vitality of our UW system. This system provides world-class educational opportunities to our citizens, primarily kids.

Walker and his colleagues claim the UW is squirreling away a large 'slush fund' that costs middle-class families hundreds of millions of dollars in tuition increases. Calling it a slush fund suggests the money is used for wasteful or nefarious purposes.

This money -- in fact what is left in the budget after all bills are paid -- is actually more of a reserve fund. The amount it contains is strongly debated.

The Board of Regents claim $207 million is left after all commitments are met while Republicans claim the number is $648 million. A lot of money, by any standard, until you consider the annual budget for the UW system is $5.6 billion!

This reserve or 'slush fund' amounts to somewhere between 4% and 12% of the annual budget, depending on whose numbers are believed. Local school districts in the state consider a budget surplus of 15%-20% healthy.

River Falls Fund 10 Balance is in the 20% range, meaning our schools are well managed and financially secure.

This is the main reason we were able to borrow money for our building projects at such an attractive rate.

I assume Hudson, Prescott and Ellsworth also have healthy fund balances. Businesses and corporations have similar fund balances to maintain financial health. Most families have savings accounts for similar purposes.

As a concerned taxpayer, one has to wonder what the governor seeks to accomplish by forcing our proud educational system into financial distress.