Malaspina Board adopts balanced 1997/98 budget

May 28, 1997 - 5:00pm

The Malaspina University-College Board has adopted a balanced budget of $57,957,238 for the 1997/98 fiscal year.

The budget consists of:

  • $32,206,170 from the Ministry of Education, Skills and Training for general operations and capital equipment--56% of the total budget;

  • $6,769,754 expected from student tuition and lab fees--12 % of the total budget;

  • $9,875,000 estimated revenue from international education, business and industrial training contracts, temporary-funding courses, and special grants--17% of the total budget;

  • $3,364,109 expected revenue from ancillary operations (cafeterias and bookstore)--6% of the total budget;

  • $1,211,723 projected revenue from programs and services such as the hairdressing salon, trades programs shops, rental of facilities and application fees--2% of the total budget;

  • $4,530,482 grant from the Ministry of Education, Skills and Training for capital debt funding (20-year mortgage on the campus buildings)--7% of the total budget.

Edwin Deas, Malaspina bursar and vice-president of administration, said, "Adoption of the budget signals the end of a long, difficult process of acknowledging flat revenues while accommodating escalating costs.

"Early preparation of planning assumptions last fall allowed for a thoughtful and orderly budgetary process while trying to maintain the high quality of programs and services.

"The final budget was put in place once the level of government funding was confirmed and it ran fairly close to our original estimates."

In order to balance the budget despite a $1.6-million shortfall, Malaspina has had to reduce expenditures in some instructional areas. The shortfall results from increased costs due to provincially-negotiated faculty and staff contract settlements, wage scale increments, and expenditures for new functions of health & safety and institutional research and planning. No new funding was provided for these increased costs.

In addition, the government's freeze on student tuition fees represents a loss of potential revenue of $500,000 for a second consecutive year.

Unlike school districts the College and Institute Act prohibits colleges to plan for an operating budget deficit; instead, cuts have to be made to meet budget expenditures.

This year's budget shortfall has resulted in lay-offs of two full-time equivalent instructor positions and some instructors will have a reduction in hours. In addition, two administrative positions have been reduced to half-time positions, while another retiring administrator will not be replaced.

One certificate program, Log Scaling, has been cancelled. If there is enough interest, the 5-month Log Scaling program may be offered on a self-funded basis in the future.

Appliance Repair (a ten-month program) has also been cancelled in Nanaimo and the instructor reassigned to Cowichan campus to start a Trades and Technology Centre.

Only one Apprenticeship Carpentry class will be offered, instead of two (the 10-month Carpentry and Residential Construction program will still be offered).

The Office Administration training program budget will be reduced by not replacing a retiring instructor; present instructors will absorb the extra workload.

In addition, 65 academic classes will be cut, out of 900 academic classes offered each semester.

Malaspina president, Rich Johnston, said, "In order to meet our tight budgetary requirements it has been necessary to cut costs at the expense of some instructional areas.

"In the past, in an effort to maintain the highest quality of instruction, we have cut from the service side of the budget. This has not been possible this time as further cuts to services would severely impact instructional support.

"It has been difficult, but we have done our utmost to reduce costs without seriously affecting students. Through increased revenues in international and other contracts, increased efficiencies across campus, and through heightened fundraising activity we will meet our financial objectives."

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