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CNC dental program spared

The College of New Caledonia's dental assisting program will go ahead in the fall.

The College of New Caledonia's dental assisting program will go ahead in the fall.

The official announcement came late Wednesday though the Board of Governors had indicated at its last meeting that behind-the-scenes talks with the Ministry of Advanced Education had likely saved the program.

That translated to one-time funding to the tune of $268,000 after the course was slightly revised and approved by the college's education council last week.

The two-year dental hygiene program has been suspended, with promises from the college it will try to re-offer it in 2016.

"I'd like to acknowledge and thank everyone who provided feedback about CNC's dental programs over the last couple of months," said CNC president Henry Reiser in the press release.

"Through hard work and community involvement, CNC is able to offer a high-quality dental assisting program in the fall."

It also means most of the layoff notices would be rescinded the college said, but did not respond after business hours to confirm numbers.

After the April 24 board meeting to vote on the budget, dental program founder Carole Whitmer said saving the program meant three dental assisting faculty can keep their jobs alongside at least one operational staff.

At that point, it was believed two dental hygiene instructors had been laid off.

The cuts to courses and programs, counselling and the day care were all made to balance a $2.8 million deficit.

When CNC announced in March it would suspend dental assisting and hygiene programs alongside those cuts, it sparked a community backlash, where faculty organized public events and more than 500 pages of letters were sent to the board about its budget recommendations.

Whitmer learned half an hour before the April budget meeting that dental assisting would be saved.

She credited the public outcry for keeping the program partially alive.

"I don't think they ever expected the response from the community," Whitmer said after the meeting.

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