School Fees

The BC Superintendents Association has written a letter, January 17th, requesting the Ministry of Education take decisive action to end the uncertainty. Full text of the letter is available here.

The BC Trustees Association has written a letter, January 19th, requesting the Ministry of Education address the needs of school boards in light of the school fee court decision of last fall. In their letter they propose some changes to deal with the situation. Full text of letter can be downloaded here.

UBC to Cut Millions from Budget

UBC President Stephen Toope met with UBC’s Department Heads and Directors for an update on the ongoing budget deficit story. The ongoing deficit is now $33M-$36M. To deal with this serious problem, that amounts to a 5% overall cut in spending, a set of directed cuts have been identified to reduce the deficit by $16M next fiscal year. In addition a $20M across-the-board one time cut in spending is planned to deal with the remainder.

What does this mean in real terms? It’s hard to say at this point. Various cuts have been rumored from cutting maintenance and upkeep on new buildings (over a million saved), to not allowing students to use VISA credit cards to pay their tuition (apparently a 2.5 million dollar saving) , to cutting the tuition waiver program for PhD students (another 2 million dollars saved). While plans and options are circulating amongst UBC’s management circles no explicit public announcements have been made as to what will actually be cut.

This is the second year in a row that UBC management has forced cuts onto the core teaching and research functions of the university. Rumors abound that the underlying cause for UBC’s budget problems are in fact the result of the massive housing and institutional building boom that is occurring on campus.

Pete McMartin broke the story that faculty, staff and students have been living with for some time last Tuesday in the Vancouver Sun.