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October 28, 2017 4:43 am

CNC Dental Staff Rallying the Public Troops

Monday, April 20, 2015 @ 5:26 AM
The public was invited to look at what might be cut at CNC.  Photo 250News

The public was invited to look at what might be cut at CNC. Photo 250News

Prince George, B.C. – The College of New Caledonia Board of Governors this Friday will vote on significant cuts and alterations to its dental programs and counseling services in order to deal with a $2.8 million deficit.

The board postponed a decision on the budget proposals at its March meeting and, with five days remaining until decision day April 24th, the Dental studies faculty and staff are attempting to rally public support in their effort to halt the proposed suspension of the Dental Assisting program, which has existed for 46 years, and the Dental Hygiene program which is now in its 28th year.  An open house was held Sunday to show the public what will be lost if the proposed suspensions take place this September.

Dental Hygiene Faculty and Curriculum Coordinator Leslie Battersby says the board has proposed making these cuts without gathering input on possible alternatives which might allow the programs to remain intact.  “We talked about increasing our patient fees at our clinic, where patients now pay $30 for an adult and $15 for a child.  That’s all-inclusive of their dental treatment, hygiene, cleanings, fluoride treatment, all their x-rays.  So that is a viable option of increasing the patient fees, and we’ve polled the patients and they’d be willing to pay more to keep the services here.”

Battersby says “we also talk about bringing back restorative clinics where patients could get fillings and extractions for a fee.  Also right now we do injury prevention, we make sports guards for some of the sports teams in Prince George so we could do a lot more of that and charge them.  And we also looked at, now it’s not our first choice but we would be willing to look at our student/faculty ratios, something that would have to be negotiated within the collective agreement.  But we’d be willing to look at that as that would lower some of the salaries.”

Asked how much of a ratio increase might be contemplated Battersby says “well that’s what we’d have to look at because what’s most important is quality education for the students.  Right now our ratios for Dental Hygiene in-clinic are 1-to-5, and Dental Assisting they’re 1-to-8 so we could look at increasing that a little so it would lower having to hire another full-time person or part-time people.”

Battersby says the information was presented to the CNC board in March “hoping that they’ll take that information and make a good decision.”  Asked if they’ve had any feedback she says “we did receive an email and they asked us three questions that they wanted clarification on and that was it.  So we’re hoping that by them asking a few questions means that they’re seriously looking at it and that the decision hasn’t already been made.”

The Dental studies faculty says should the program suspensions go ahead in September, the CNC Executive envisions altering the programs’ curriculum and possibly bring them back in 2017 or 2018 with a significant increase in tuitions.  Battersby says “our first concern is suspension might not actually mean that it comes back at all, because when we’re asked President Henry Reiser what his plan is to bring it back, there’s no timelines involved in that plan.  To us, if there was an actual plan and dates that might be a little bit easier to accept but we’re fearful that if it closes it won’t re-open at all.”

Battersby says “the reason for him calling it a suspension is he wants to re-introduce the program with an increase in tuition.  It has to be a “new” program to be able to do that.  So if he closes the program he can re-open it and raise the tuition.”

Battersby believes about 12 full-time and 15 part-time employees would be affected if the cuts proposed by the CNC Executive go through.  She says those in Dental Assisting would be gone, 50% of the Dental Hygiene staff would be laid off and three would stay on for one year to finish the first year of the Dental Hygiene class, which is a two-year program.  She also believes all support workers in the Dental programs would be out of work.


Dentists need the graduates, NH and the dentists may decide to work together with the college to keep these programs funded, together with the suggested small increases in fees. Our previous mayor suggested that she would talk to NH about the annual cost of a certain chemical. NH insisted that it is a health issue. I suppose dental preventive care and ongoing teaching are not health issues after all? The silence is deafening.

Rah, rah, rah….. but the college still needs to balance the budget. The only way its going to happen if the government can give them the money….. they have a budget to balance as well. Do you want to pay more income tax to pay for it…..

The government is us. its not Victoria. it is you, me and the person next to you. We give money so that we can have a social system. When it is out of control you, me and the person next to you have no money.

The process of having a balanced budget is a process of acting responsibly.

obviously, the dental assistant program has been waning in both students and demand, thus it is not feasible to continue. Band-aiding it is only going to make it last a year or two, but it still is going to become cut. in the meantime, it sucks out a couple of million dollars out of other programs.

How many students are we talking here and is the after graduation placement percentage? How much does it cost to do all that dental work on an adult? Does the $30 come anywhere near to recovering the costs? Why would you poll the patients to ask if they would mind having the rates raised?

If this program is the resounding success it’s proponents say it is -and I’m not saying it isn’t; I don’t have enough facts to form that opinion- it seems odd that it’s earmarked for closure.

Bring back the Flouride!!!!!

I just find it odd that one of the programs that almost guarantees placement of it’s graduates in a well paying, family supporting job is on the chopping block, while a lot of the puff type programs with little or no chance that they will lead a graduate to gainful employment are left alone!
Perhaps CNC needs to quit hiring managers, and perhaps even eliminate a few that are already there. I’m sure that there are more than enough surplus managers to offset the minuscule amount that will actually be saved by suspending the Dental Programs!
I think it’s time that CNC had a look at their own mission statement and decided what the community needs from them, and how best to deliver on those needs.
What we don’t want or need is CNC trying to duplicate what is already being offered at UNBC!

Perhaps it’s time to redirect funds from both the Education and the Social Workers degree programs. Seems we have far more teachers and social workers than we need!

Of course any consideration of such a move would be seen as sacrilegious!

So, we cut programs like the Dental program, but we keep churning out more and more teachers and social workers!

Maybe its time for the Dental Clinics, The Dentists, and The Dental Association to kick in a few bucks annually to make the program sustainable.

This is a very short sighted attack on dental health and education opportunities for the North. I question the loyalty of the CNC board to Prince George and its needs. Perhaps a review of the board and management at CNC is in order.

I remember when they brought in the pay parking at CNC. The board did this over the Christmas break and didn’t discuss their decision with anyone… even the staff at CNC were caught blind sided by the boards decision. Now an out of province company makes millions off the parking fees for students… for a parking lot that was never full anyways. They were willing to stick millions in costs to the students to save a few hundred thousand from their budget… and it shows clearly where their priorities are IMO and it is not with providing efficient and affordable educational opportunities to serve the growing needs of skilled workers in the North IMO.

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