College board to vote on budget cuts

College of New Caledonia's board will vote Friday morning on a budget recommending a host of cuts to balance its $2.8 million deficit.

The vote was postponed for one month after students, faculty and members of the public called for consultation. Faculty said the board is required to allow for four weeks of consultation.

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However, the recommendations remain the same: to suspend the dental assisting and hygiene programs, Aboriginal Early Childhood Education, reduce second-year accounting courses, and close the daycare.

That translated to 39 layoff notices sent to one administration, 21 faculty and 17 operational staff. The college also chose not to fill six administrative positions.

Sue McAllister, vice president of administration and finance, noted in her recommendations the college has seen reductions to its base operating grant for the last three years.

"This is not a sustainable model, and the college is now in a situation where the only options left are to cut viable successful programs and services, and to use cost-recovery activity revenues to balance the budget. This carries various levels of risk."

In the last eight years, the college has faced a combined $12.47 million in projected deficits, but this year's $2.8 million has been the largest sum.

That has been due to "unavoidable and unfunded cost increases" like benefits, rising utility rates, loss on foreign exchange and the four per cent wage increase negotiated in a 2012 collective agreement.

Friday's meeting starts at 11 a.m., to be followed by the Annual General Meeting.

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