It has been less than two weeks since the provincial budget announced a reduction in Memorial’s operating grant. Already, considerable work has gone into analyzing the implications for students and the institution, while sharing the available information with members of the university community.
“While our year-over-year operating budget line item was reduced significantly in the provincial budget, there are broader implications for the university,” noted Dr. Gary Kachanoski, president and vice-chancellor. “We have the shortfall in our operating grant, an additional reduction in our deferred maintenance allocation, as well as an issue with our special payment to the pension fund, all of which need to be addressed.
“We are still weeks away from having a proposal for the Board of Regents,” President Kachanoski continued. “However, given the speculation around tuition fees recently, I want to say now that if our budget proposal to the Board of Regents includes fee increases, and if those are approved, the increases would be for implementation in the 2016 academic year, allowing time for students to plan for such a change."
Administrators have met with a number of groups to brief them on the budget situation and discuss possible options for revenue generation and cost-containment to address the shortfalls. Meetings have been held with the student unions, deans, the Vice-Presidents Council, the university pension committee, the pensioners’ association, administrative and academic leaders and the university’s Senate.
Next steps include continued discussion with the university pension committee, additional analysis of the possible solutions and the impact of each, and preparation of a recommendation by the vice-presidents to the president for presentation to the Board of Regents at its July meeting. An implementation plan will follow the decision of the board in July.
“In the coming weeks we will continue to explore potential solutions,” said Dr. Kachanoski. “But until that process is complete and the board approves a university budget for 2015-16, the exact impact is unknown. I understand and appreciate that the lack of certainty causes concern for students, faculty and staff so we will continue to share information as we have it.”