Camosun College managed to cut 2.5 per cent cut with no programs cancelled as the Camosun Board of Governors approved a $114-million dollar budget for 2014-15 last Monday.
“The budget has been a challenging process for the college given the flat funding environment and an anticipated funding reduction announced in the 2013 provincial budget,” a Camosun press release said. “Compounding the situation is the additional lack of clarity regarding the future funding of the English as a Second Language program.”
ESL is often one of the first programs to be cancelled when school budgets get tight.
“ESL continues to be a huge concern,” said John Boraas, vice president academics at Camosun. “We’re fine until 2015, and we’re looking the government to provide us with some future solutions.”
Camosun was issued $2.7 in two rounds of one-time funding to help institutions impacted by the federal government’s decision to change administration of ESL programs for immigrants that went into effect April 1.
Although there will be a reduction of one cohort in the Applied Business Technology program, and University Transfer will face a reduction of sections based on low enrolment, vulnerable programs such as Music Professional Studies and Early Learning and Care remain safe for now.
“The college community sees a proposal and offers insights,” said Russ Lazaruk, finance chair. “In this case those insights provided highly creative approaches in which faculty and staff members were prepared to modify programs in order to ensure that Camosun continues to meet its mandate in the best way possible, given our funding challenges.”
The 2.5 per cent reduction across the board could bring higher tuition fees, less services, and fewer class choices for students.
“We are confident that the budget protects the comprehensiveness of Camosun programs while recognizing the fiscal realities of these times, and we look forward to a sustainable future,” said board chair Marilyn Pattison.