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LU Board of Governors approves $108M budget

Laurentian University Board of Governors approves $108M worth of budget expenditures for the 2009-2010 fiscal year, which includes a projected $4-million operating deficit

Posted by Sudbury Northern Life

The Laurentian University Board of Governors has approved $108-million worth of budget expenditures for the 2009-2010 fiscal year, which includes a projected $4-million operating deficit.

"The recent, sudden and global financial crisis is affecting all sectors of society, and Canadian universities, including Laurentian, are not exempt," said Dominic Giroux, university president. "However, Laurentian is in good financial shape relative to other universities, thanks in part to a somewhat conservative approach in financial affairs over the years."

The Ontario government has not yet increased its operating funding to universities for 2009-2010. As a result, universities must fully absorb salary and benefits cost increases, as well as the impact of the financial market meltdown on assets related to pension plans and endowment funds.

In February, the Board approved a plan for regaining sustainability at Laurentian University. The plan was prepared in consultation with the Laurentian community and provides the university with a comprehensive framework that will ensure its financial stability in the years to come and a return to a balanced budget within a three-year time frame.

Without this plan, and with no operating funding relief in sight from the provincial government, Laurentian would have faced the possibility of an accumulated deficit of $44 million by 2011-2012, compared to the $11-million projected accumulated deficit now forecasted.

The university's goal is to bridge the financial gap with enhanced student recruitment and retention, and focused spending reductions.

Budget highlights:

  • $108 million budget, up $2.4 million over 2008-09 expenditures;
  • All permanent positions and all academic programs are preserved;
  • Assumes 482 additional students in September 2009, generating $3.4 million in additional revenues;
  • $4-million deficit projected for 2009-2010, down from 2008-09, bringing the cumulated deficit to $9 million;
  • No "across-the-board" unilateral reductions in operations;
  • Members of the executive team have voluntarily agreed to return to the university in 2009-2010 any increase that may have been contemplated to their base salary;
  • An additional $500,000 to be invested in strategic recruitment initiatives;
  • Term (contract) positions and retirements will not be renewed or replaced in 2009-2010, and six new term positions are being created, for a net loss of 13 positions.