UW-Madison will not be splitting from the rest of the UW System, according to lawmakers. But a similar plan could be in the works.
Madison and the other UW schools want to control their own budgets, set tuition and make other decisions.
Lawmakers are weighing the options.
"It looks like we're all going to get some much needed, decades long needed, kind of management leadership flexibilities," UW-Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells said.
Governor Scott Walker wanted to make Madison a public authority, giving it more control of its budget, tuitions rates and other things, in exchange for deeper cuts in state aid than others schools would receive.
Lawmakers appear unwilling to back the split, but are leaning towards new freedoms for the entire system.
Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin says more flexibility is crucial.
"A $250 million cut to the UW System without any ways of dealing with it is devastating to the state of Wisconsin," she said. "It is going to be imperative that the Legislature emerge from its decision-making next week with significant steps forward for all the campuses, and I'm still hopeful that they will."
Lawmakers are still debating which freedoms to offer and deciding how to divvy out the Governor's proposed reductions.
Madison would have born half the burden, or $125 million in cuts. But that was as a public authority.
If Madison stays in the system, system leaders believe the cuts should be adjusted, closer to 40 percent.
"All the chancellors yesterday (Thursday) talked all this through and everyone agrees that that was not the right way to behave," Wells said.
Both legislators and university leaders know there's not a lot of time to hammer out the details. The Joint Finance Committee is expected to finalize the UW System budget by the end of next week.
The governors office did not respond to our requests for comment.
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