University of Calgary faculty and staff are bracing for what will be a “bloody” budget next year, according to one professor. In fall 2009, the university projected a $47.5 million deficit for 2013-14, a staggering figure that U of C administrators have already cut by more than half.
An administrative review, itself costing $30 million, helped the university find $10 million in savings, largely by eliminating 140 jobs ($8 million) and finding efficiencies with suppliers, utilities and administrative costs ($2 million). An additional $4 million is expected to be generated this year, growing to $12 million by 2012-13, through a new student ancillary fee. With an endowment fund that has recovered from a recessionary slump, projected shortcomings have been reduced to a $21.7 million deficit.
“The deficit we were looking at (for that projection) is not the deficit we’re going to have to deal with,” Jack Gebert, U of C’s vice-president finance told the Calgary Herald. Gebert says he plans to bring forward a fully balanced budget in the spring, despite the fact that the province will not be increasing the university’s operating grant.
The university has been in negotiations with support staff since March, and collective bargaining with faculty will begin in the new year. The university’s aggressive budget balancing has some faculty and staff concerned.
“I think next year’s going to be bloody . . . I think that there’s going to be a lot of pressure to reduce (support) staff. Staff always gets the worst deal because they don’t have the protection that faculty have. I think there will be a lot of very tough decisions. We’re already running skeletal crews,” art history prof David Bershad, said in the Herald.