PC government funding cuts hit Olds College

Olds College will cut 25 jobs in the midst of provincial post-secondary funding cuts.

Olds College will cut 25 jobs in the midst of provincial post-secondary funding cuts.

On Friday, the college announced a surplus budget which is mandated within board policy. The total budget is $50.2 million, and with expenses of $49.3 million, the modest surplus for 2013-14 comes in at $893,000.

Jason Dewling, vice-president of academics and research, said the surplus is used for any capital renewal projects, such as painting, new equipment or supplies. There is no capital dollars built within the operating budget, he added.

“We didn’t come at the (surplus) from one angle,” said Dewling on Friday. “We looked at revenue generation and resource alignment.”

The Progressive Conservative government announced in March that it would cut base operating grants to post-secondary institutions by 7.3 per cent. Institutions were expecting a two per cent increase in funding, so the decrease is being translated into 9.3 per cent for them.

“Dealing with a reduction in funds like this one doesn’t happen in a 60-day window,” said college president Tom Thompson in a news release.

Olds College suffered a loss of $3.6 million in provincial dollars.

Staffing was cut by 10, of which 1.5 were permanent faculty members. The college also did not fill 15 vacancies while being committed to increasing revenues and cutting administrative expenses. Management staff, including Thompson, took a three per cent rollback.

“Before doing anything to impact students, over the last year we’ve been making significant changes,” said Dewling. “So we had about 12 reviews throughout the organization, both academic and service, to help us.”

The staff cuts affected all levels at the college, he added.

“There were positions we didn’t fill or held back because there were signals through last fall and in early 2013 that we should be cautious,” said Dewling. “Only about 10 people are directly impacted over the next few months. The other 15 positions saw jobs amalgamated, realigned or combined with another position.”

Guy Smith, president of Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, said the whole community will feel these job losses.

AUPE represents 170 full and part-time support staff at the college. Of the positions cut, 10 are in the AUPE bargaining unit.

“Eliminating these jobs takes a lot of money out of the Olds economy,” said Smith. “Add to that the 65 job losses at Red Deer College and you see how these education cutbacks affect the region.”

Besides reducing its staff, the college had four other budget highlights: improved access to learning; sharpened focus on institutes and centres of excellence; substantive increases in revenue; and results-based reviews.

The National Brewmaster program will start in 2013-14, plus 81 more apprenticeship seats are coming. Olds College will add Hospitality and Tourism certificates and diplomas, which means 60 more spaces. It will also offer Grant MacEwan University’s bachelor of science degrees.

Olds College also has a Fashion Institute within Calgary’s Bow Valley College south campus.

It hopes to bring in an additional $1.5 million through new entrepreneurial and enterprise efforts. New revenue accounted for about 50 per cent of bridging the budget gap.

Reviews of each division at the college will continue.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

NDP leader Rachel Notley is calling on the UCP to make a public inquiry into the COVID-19 outbreak at Olymel. (Facebook screenshot)
Notley calls for Olymel inquiry as plant reopens

Union also asks for further consideration to delay opening

UPDATE: Rally held outside Red Deer court for slain central Alberta man

Tyler John Campbell charged with second-degree murder for December 2019 homicide

(Contributed image).
Deadline extended for arts scholarship applications for Red Deer-area students

Red Deer Arts Council will accept applications until March 15

Hog slaughter operations resumed on Thursday at Red Deer’s Olymel plant, which was closed for two weeks to curb the spread of COVID-19 among workers. Three employee deaths resulted from the latest outbreak. (Advocate file photo).
Hog slaughtering operations gear up again at Red Deer’s Olymel plant

Workers begin to return after 14-day closure due to COVID-19 outbreak

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says the greater lag time between first and second doses will allow more Albertans to be effectively vaccinated sooner. (File photo)
Alberta extends time between vaccine doses means more people to get shot sooner

National Advisory Committee on Immunization says doses can be to up to four months apart

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Lionel Desmond (front row, far right) was part of the 2nd battalion, of the Royal Canadian Regiment, based at CFB Gagetown and shown in this 2007 handout photo taken in Panjwai district in between patrol base Wilson and Masum Ghar in Afghanistan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Facebook-Trev Bungay MANDATORY CREDIT
Desmond inquiry: social worker reveals details about former soldier’s family life

PORT HAWKESBURY, N.S. — An inquiry in Nova Scotia is hearing testimony… Continue reading

Seniors arrive for their COVID-19 vaccination at a clinic in Olympic Stadium in Montreal on March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Nova Scotia eases COVID-19 restrictions; cases creep up in Ontario

Nova Scotia is easing public-health restrictions in and around Halifax, while new… Continue reading

Infrastructure and Communities Minister Catherine McKenna stands near a bus as she waits to start an announcement at a public transit garage in Ottawa, Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Liberals tap $2.5B of promised transit dollars for zero-emission buses

OTTAWA — The federal Liberals are setting aside some of the billions… Continue reading

Canada’s Eliot Grondin looks on after competing in a men’s snowboard cross heat at the Phoenix Snow Park at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Grondin continued his strong season with his first career World Cup snowboard cross victory on Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canadian Eliot Grondin captures gold at World Cup snowboard cross event

BAKURIANI, Georgia — Canada’s Eliot Grondin continued his strong season with his… Continue reading

FILE - In this Feb. 23, 2021, file photo, a vehicle rests on its side after a rollover accident involving golfer Tiger Woods in the Rancho Palos Verdes suburb of Los Angeles. Detectives are looking at data from the so-called “black box” of Tiger Woods’ SUV to get a clearer picture of what occurred during the Southern California rollover crash last week that seriously injured the golf star, authorities said Wednesday, March 3. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
Detectives look at SUV’s ‘black box’ from Tiger Woods crash

California law allows law enforcement to seek search warrants for data recorders

FILE - In this Jan. 30, 2019 file photo, Alex Kurtzman, from left, Heather Kadin, Anson Mount, Sonequa Martin-Green and Ethan Peck participate in the “Star Trek: Discovery” show panel during the CBS All Access presentation at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour at The Langham Huntington in Pasadena, Calif. Paramount+ debuts Thursday, March 4, 2021 as the latest — and last — streaming option from a major media company, this time from ViacomCBS. The company hopes its smorgasbord of offerings — live sports and news, reboots of its properties like “Frasier” and “Rugrats,” original shows like “Star Trek: Discovery” and the ViacomCBS library will entice viewers(Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP, File)
Will Paramount+ be a mountain or a molehill in streaming?

Over the last year and a half more and more streaming services have debuted

Most Read