GFC gets latest on budget update
The information came during a presentation to council from Provost Carl Amrhein and Vice-President (Finance and Administration) Phyllis Clark, who provided an update to council on the current operating budget as well as glimpse of what will be coming in budget discussions for 2011–2012.
“I promised council I would provide an update in the fall, and, as expected, there has been a small increase in the number of layoffs as budget calculations have been finalized and implemented,” said Amrhein.
Council also heard that 28 staff had been redeployed to other existing positions within the university, and 182 staff from across the institution had opted for the Voluntary Retirement Incentive Plan. Amrhein indicated that discussions are underway with deans and directors to determine when and how many of these early retirement positions will be filled.
Clark told council that the university is on target and may even improve from the forecast operating funding gap of $14.8 million, indicating that other measures, such as furlough days and the personal leave program, are helping. Clark also indicated that while there is continued volatility in the markets, “the general uptick in growth generally is working in the university’s favour and we’re seeing our investments regain some of the ground they lost in the recession.”
Looking forward towards next year’s budget, Clark and Amrhein informed GFC that challenges on both revenue and expense sides of the ledger will keep the pressure on budget plans. In addition to an expected zero per cent increase in the base grant from the Government of Alberta, the university will be proposing a 0.35 per cent increase in tuition, the maximum allowable under the provincial regulations, which tie increases to the consumer price index. Contract negotiations with AASUA and NASA, as well as unfunded pension plan liabilities and inflationary and growth pressures, are also important considerations going forward this year.