CNC Faculty Association Speaks Up on Budget Surplus
Prince George B.C.- CNC’s Faculty Association is waiting to see what the Board of Governors plans to do with the unexpected $1.8 million dollar surplus from the 2015/16 budget.
The College had prepared that budget expecting a deficit of $2.8 million dollars. In order to balance the books, some programs were cut, the dental hygiene program was suspended and some faculty members were laid off.
Faculty Association Vice President Chief Steward Jan Mastromatteo says the Association has been sending a message to the Board for years “The College has unprecedented cuts in programs and courses and faculty, and we’ve been seeing layoffs since 2001. ” She says the cuts over the past year aren’t as deep as they have been in the past, “but instead of a predicted deficit of $2.8 million they have a surplus of $1.8 million dollars, they were essentially cutting healthy programs.”
The College says it finished off the year with a surplus because of a 7% increase in enrollment, but increased tuition for the coming academic year by 2% anyway because there is no guarantee there will be a surplus in the coming year.
Carole Whitmer, VP Negotiations for the Faculty Association, says she believes the suspension of the Dental Hygiene program was just a way to boost tuition rates higher than is allowed. “If you re-tool your program, or renew your program and change the objectives by 50% you can submit the program to Advanced Education and they will look at a tuition increase of more than the 2% so that’s what’s happening with Dental Hygiene.” She says the suspension is “A grab to increase the tuition.”
According to Whitmer, there have been discussions as recently as two weeks ago of possibly re-opening the program for this fall and with other dental hygiene programs across the province over subscribed, they would be able to find some students who could start this fall if the program is reinstated.
A special meeting of the Board of Governors is set for June 3rd to look at a revised budget for 2016/17 and possible options for how the surplus is to be used.
Whitmer says there needs to be improvement on the College’s budget predictions “Their budget projections have consistently over the years been very poor” and the latest scenario amplifies that observation as there was a $4.6 million dollar difference between the projection and the reality.
The Board of Governors meeting is set for June 3rd at 1 pm. It is open to the public.