OSHKOSH - University of Wisconsin system leaders said Wednesday they've been blindsided by additional budget changes.
The UW System learned Friday it needs to return more than $65 million to the state over the next two years.
The Walker administration says the money is needed to balance the state budget, but chancellors argue the cost is too high for the campuses.
"While the word of a budget lapse is not unexpected, other UW System administrators, chancellors and I are surprised and confused, if not a bit bewildered, by the scope of the disproportionate reductions expected from us," UW-Oshkosh chancellor Rick Wells said.
The $65.7 million dollar reduction is on top of the $250 million already taken from what the system wanted to spend in the state budget.
"It's definitely not very fair and I'm very concerned as to why education is being targeted," UW-Oshkosh student Tim Suess said.
Suess says students are already seeing the effects. He's afraid to see another cut.
"Larger class sizes, less qualified instructors and things of that nature," Suess explained.
UW system leaders were informed of the new reductions in a memo from the Department of Administration.
It ordered state agencies to return $174 million to balance the budget.
The UW system was expecting to return some funds, but didn't expect to bear the brunt of the cuts.
It will be paying 38 percent of the gap, more than any other agency.
"Certainly very concerned about the amount of the cut and the timing," UW-Green Bay chancellor Tom Harden said.
The DOA declined comment, but Governor Walker's spokesman Cullen Werwie released a statement.
"The lapses were not a surprise," Werwie said. "They were included in the 2011-13 budget and were much lower than previous budgets."
Werwie says high priority programs like school aid, medical assistance and other health and public safety programs were exempt.
UW system leaders have until November 7th to come up with a plan for making the cuts.
Given the short time frame, chancellors say it will be an extreme challenge.
"The longer you go into a budget year, the more difficult it gets to make reductions, because you've already committed and spent the money," Harden explained.
UW System leaders say they will pressure lawmakers and state administrators to change their minds about the cuts.
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