LETHBRIDGE: In spite of the 7.3 per cent reduction in funding to Campus Alberta Grants, as well as reduced infrastructure maintenance money, Lethbridge College has a balanced budget for the 2013-14 year. However, the balancing act comes with the loss of 12 staff members.
The College’s Leadership Council reviewed all aspects of their finances, in an effort to keep its roughly $82 Million operating budget on an even keel.
To achieve the balanced budget, the College implemented a zero per cent Cost of Living Adjustment for all management over the next three years. As well, most professional development funds won't be available for the 2013-14 year and Corporate Services created efficiencies by considering essential activity and adjusting staff. Many of the business development, corporate training, and continuing education activities will be centralized under a director whose responsibilities will include achieving significant profitability in these areas.
To add to those measures, the college has suspended intake to the Office Administration diploma and the Fashion Design and Marketing diploma courses, because of low demand. The Early Childhood Education diploma and the Educational Assistant certificate will still available in a distributed learning format however there will no longer be on-campus delivery. Options for each of the programs are available within Alberta and college staff will be contacting current students directly to discuss their options moving forward.
The decisions have resulted in the lay-off of 12 full-time staff, including those affected by the closure of our rural campuses in Fort Macleod and Pincher Creek. The college still anticipates a reduction in term-certain and contract positions.
According to College President and CEO, Dr Paul Burns, “We have made strategic decisions in order to balance our budget rather than make reductions across the board. Decisions of this nature are always difficult and this does have a significant impact on our institution, although we appreciate the challenges the province is facing. We also know that our financial stability depends on our ability to diversify our revenue sources.”
Burns also noted that the decisions made to balance the 2013-14 budget will not be enough for subsequent years. The college still needs to find ways to create long-term stability of its resources as there will be an ongoing effect of these changes.