Chippewa County

07 - 16

Resolution to Formally Oppose the UW-Coopertive Multi-County Reorganization Plan


Department:Corporation Counsel DivisionSponsors:


  1. Printout

Financial Impact

There is no fiscal impact to Chippewa County by passage of this resolution.

ORD/RES Printout

              WHEREAS, the process used to develop the UW-Cooperative Extension Multi-County Reorganization plan was flawed, not transparent, provided little opportunity for meaningful consideration of county concerns, including asking counties for options to address any share of revenue shortfall that is used to justify the imposition of the plan, and raises many unanswered questions; and


              WHEREAS, the plan for reorganization likely jeopardizes the partnership between the UW-System and Wisconsin Counties, which implies working together to find solutions, not simply accepting a plan unilaterally imposed by a decision of the Chancellor of UW Colleges and UW-Extension; and


              WHEREAS, the current Cooperative Extension system has a proven track record of success for more than 100 years as a single county-based model for governance, locally set levy contribution and individual county determined educational programming priorities under the policy guidance of each County Extension Committee designated by the elected County Board; and


              WHEREAS, the reduction target allocated by the plan to Cooperative Extension of $1.2 million annually, is about 5.8% of the Total $20.46 million county levy support for Extension by the 72 counties, and does not justify the complete dismantling of the current county-based Cooperative Extension system when there are multiple options to address the budget shortfall; and


              WHEREAS, Chippewa County’s share of the budget decrease would be approximately $18,788 per year which equals 8.07% of annual tax levy support; and


              WHEREAS, there are up to 40 current faculty/academic staff educator vacancies within the system, providing sufficient savings to allow for an inclusive examination of cost saving options with counties engaged as full partners, to consider whether individual counties are willing to contribute their proportionate share of the revenue decrease, or identify other non-levy revenue or expenditure reductions to make up their share of the shortfall allocated to Cooperative Extension by each county; and


              WHEREAS, the reorganization plan imposes drastic and reckless changes on the current system, eliminating 80 local faculty education positions, a reduction of nearly 50% in direct education staff, while adding an unnecessary bureaucratic layer of at least 18 “area-leader-director” positions who will not provide any face-to-face service and will not be accountable to local elected officials, community partners, program priorities, community needs, volunteers, funders or participants; and


              WHEREAS, Wisconsin counties are unlikely to continue the current level of county tax levy support in future years if direct educational services are decreased by up to 50%, thereby making the proposed multi-county educational delivery structure financially unsustainable;


              NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Chippewa County Board does hereby oppose the UW-Cooperative Extension Multi-County Reorganization Plan approved by Chancellor Cathy Sandeen on February 10, 2016; and


              BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Chippewa County Board calls upon University System President Ray Cross and the UW-Board of Regents to direct the Chancellor of UW Colleges and UW Cooperative Extension to retract all portions of the plan imposing a multi-county system on County/Tribal Extension offices and engage county/tribes as equal partners to consider individual county options to address their share of the $1.2 million reduction target, approximately 21 cents per capita state-wide, which is equal to 1.93% of $62,071,049 total state/federal direct and indirect support plus County Extension tax levies, while maintaining the current County Extension system; and


              BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Chippewa County is not willing to continue providing local tax levy funding at the current level if direct educational faculty services are decreased by up to 50% as described in the plan, while eliminating accountability to the County Extension Committee and County Board; and


              BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Chippewa County UW-Extension Department Director and Chippewa County Administrator are hereby directed to provide input to the UW-System regarding local concerns about the detrimental impact of the proposed multi-county reorganization plan from the local partner organizations and program participants and volunteers in the four program areas:  Agriculture, 4-H & Youth, Family Living, and Community Natural Resources & Economic Development; and


              BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to all 72 Wisconsin County Boards/Extension Education Committee Chairs and County Extension department heads, the Wisconsin Counties Association, County Executives and Administrators, Governor Scott Walker, University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross and the Board of Regents, State Senator Terry Moulton, Representatives Tom Larson and Kathy Bernier, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald.


              Forwarded to the County Board by the Executive Committee.


Meeting History

Mar 1, 2016 4:00 PM  Executive Committee Regular Meeting
MOVER:Mike Leisz, District 13
SECONDER:Jared Zwiefelhofer, District 4
AYES:Paul Michels, Henry Shakal, Jared Zwiefelhofer, Anson Albarado, Mike Leisz
Mar 8, 2016 7:00 PM  County Board Regular Meeting

Motion (Ellis/Hull) to adopt resolution 07-16 to oppose the UW-Cooperative Multi-County reorganization plan. Motion carried (15-0).

MOVER:Doug Ellis, District 12
SECONDER:Chuck Hull, District 14
AYES:Paul Michels, Henry Shakal, Bill Stimeling, Glen Sikorski, Jared Zwiefelhofer, Lee Mcllquham, Michael A. Goettl, Anson Albarado, Lawrence J. Willkom, Steve Gerrish, Florian Skwierczynski, Doug Ellis, Mike Leisz, Chuck Hull, Leigh Darrow