Budget update – February 13, 2020
In my last email I mentioned that we have been awaiting the release of the provincial budget to determine our Campus Alberta Grant funding for the next several years, and specifically for 2020/21. We now have confirmation that the provincial budget is set to be released on February 27. The information in the budget will allow us to make some final decisions in order to balance the university’s budget for 2020/21.
I have previously shared that several functional reviews have been underway, including advising, financial management, administrative support and others. On February 5, senior leaders, including administrative and academic associate vice-presidents, deans, and Executive Council representatives, received presentations on these functional reviews. The presentations provided an overview of cost reduction plans, impact assessments, risk mitigation strategies and implementation options. Executive Council assessed this information along with other expense reduction strategies. In consideration of this and budget information we will receive on February 27, recommendations and a draft budget plan for 2020/21 will be presented at the March 5 closed meeting of the Board of Governors. After consulting with our board, I expect that we will be making decisions on staffing levels beginning in mid-March.
We continue to focus on controlling the 2019/20 deficit through spending restraint and hiring controls, which are having the desired impact. We are now projecting less of a deficit for 2019/20 than previously expected, which we have managed to do by significantly controlling our expenditures. Thank you for your efforts on this front.
Additionally, we are actively advocating with government on the outcomes-based funding model. The measures and targets associated with the model are to be signed off by March 31 by the Minister of Advanced Education and the Board of Governors. These will come into effect for the 2021 to 2023 budget years. We are currently preparing for this negotiation process.
As we move through these decisions, I want to assure you that changes to our current structures and staffing levels are done with careful thought and process. Our priority has and continues to be minimizing the impact on students, guided by our principles of respect and empathy, transparency and putting our leaders out front, and support of staff.
I recognize that this process may seem to be drawn out and is stressful for all members of the university community; however, we want to ensure that we are thoughtful and analytical in our decision making and that we have the full picture of the budget before making decisions.
My next update will be at a budget town hall on March 9 where we will discuss the budget and answer questions. More information on time and location will be forthcoming. Alternatively, you can also send questions or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is still work to be done around the budget and, as always, I appreciate your patience and understanding. While these are tough times, MacEwan has been and will continue to be a great place for students and their success – and I greatly appreciate all that our staff do to contribute to that success.
John McGrath, Acting President