A number of programs at the College of New Caledonia may not be taking in new students, as the school attempts to find ways to balance its budget now and in the future.
“There are no programs being cut,” president Henry Reiser said, “but there are some program intakes being suspended.”
The programs being looked at are dental programs as well as the Aboriginal Early Childhood Education (AECE) program. Reiser says the motivation for each is different.
“For AECE, it’s a question of low enrolment. The numbers just aren’t there.
“For the dental programs, it’s more financial. They are well-established and they have a positive impact on the community. The costs to deliver the programs, though, are prohibitive.”
The college was facing a $2.8 million shortfall when it started the budget process for the 2015-6 school year, and Reiser says, “we’re almost there.”
“We’re dividing it three ways: students will make up just under one-third, faculty will make up just under one-third, and administration and operational staff will have the remainder.”
Faculty Association president David Rourke says he knows some of the members will lose their jobs, but isn’t sure how many or who.
“My understanding is they are going to suspend the dental program, and discontinue the clinical counselling in Prince George, Burns Lake and Quesnel. We estimate 20 to 25 people will be laid off.
“I can’t recall a year where we haven’t faced some form of layoffs.”
Under the collective agreement, faculty members have to receive their layoff notice by March 31 for the coming school year. However, a senior faculty member does have the opportunity to bump someone else.
“It might have a secondary effect wit the sessional or part-time faculty,” Rourke says. “It puts everything into a bit of a time crunch.”
Reiser said the suspension of intakes for the dental programs does not mean the end of the programs.
“We will be looking at ways to improve efficiencies in the programs. We will be looking at ways to recover costs by redeveloping the programs.
“We’re hoping to relaunch them as soon as possible, but realistically it could be the 2016-17 year. The programs will have to re-accredited.”
The board has approved an increase in fees and tuition of two per cent for the coming year, the maximum increase they are allowed under provincial guidelines.
The budget for 2015-16 will be presented at the board meeting on March 27.