Paul Stenton, vice-provost, university planning, presented a budget town hall to Ryerson students, staff and faculty. Photo: Natalia Balcerzak/The Eyeopener

Drop in grants leads to budget cuts

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By Mohamed Omar

Ryerson’s budget for the 2013-2014 academic year will work with a one per cent reduction in grants, while the provincial government has yet to inform universities of its tuition increase policy.

At a town hall Thursday, held at the Ted Rogers School of Management, students, staff and faculty were presented with the university’s budget-planning considerations and concerns.

“We know that the government has said to all the universities and colleges in Ontario that your grants are going to be reduced by one per cent across the board and we know that for 2014-15 it will be a further one per cent,” President Sheldon Levy said. “We are planning with knowledge that we have.”

Levy, who hosted the town hall, said the lack of tuition fee guidelines from the government will not disrupt the budget planning process.

“The only thing we do not know is what will the tuition fees be for 2013-14,” he said. “And therefore we have to essentially estimate a range for that.”

He added that the administration has “no authority to spend money” if a budget is not approved by April 30.

Paul Stenton, vice-provost, university planning, said the school’s expenditures — of which 80 per cent are salaries— will increase due to higher living expenses, new staff hirings and a three per cent rise in non-salary costs, such as equipment, lighting, and heat.

As a result, Stenton added, the school’s departmental base-budget will be reduced by 1.7 per cent in order to eliminate a deficit. The 2011-12 operating budget included a 1.8 reduction, while last year’s had a 3 per cent reduction. The Board of Governors’ policies enforce a balanced budget.

“We have no right at the university to have a deficit, much like the City of Toronto can’t have a deficit. We’re not like the provincial government or the federal government that [can] run deficits. It is against the law, our laws, to do that,” Levy said.

“Therefore we have to bring a budget in to balance and we have to bring it by April 30th.”

Another town hall will be held Monday at 4 p.m at KHS239.

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