"We are making progress:" UW Board of Regents discusses Walker's budget cuts

WAUKESHA (WITI) -- The UW Board of Regents met at UW Waukesha on Thursday to discuss the looming cuts if Governor Walker's proposed budget goes through unchanged.

Ever since Governor Walker announced his budget plans for the biennium, the $300 million in proposed cuts to the UW system have been making headlines. The system's campuses have been scrambling to figure out how to absorb them.

This week, the board of regents is discussing the path ahead.

UW system President, Ray Cross, delivered a somewhat positive update about the proposed cuts on Thursday, April 9th.

"We are making progress in reducing them. The legislature is understanding and is interested in helping us -- so is the governor," said Cross.

As part of the governor's proposal, the UW would gain some extra flexibilities -- though Cross says those flexibilities won't save the system enough to balance out the proposed $300 million cut.

"Our careful analysis suggests these flexibilities may save us between $15-$20 million annually. First, I don't think that's little, $15-$20 million is significant, but it doesn't cover this cut," said Cross.

President Cross also says they're working with lawmakers on new, more focused ways to keep the system accountable to lawmakers and taxpayers.

"We currently have more than 40 accountability reports but reports alone just don't cut it. We want to focus on seven or fewer accountability metrics, we will still have more than 30 reports," Cross said.

As far as what those accountability metrics might look like, Cross says they're considering things like comparing graduation rates with other institutions around the nation and the retention rate of first and second year students -- among other things.