Budget cuts could be coming to key Ryerson facilities

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By Erin Kerbel

With a lack of governmental funds and fixed costs increasing in the 2014-2015 school year, departmental spending cuts could be in Ryerson’s future.

A tentative solution to cut the university’s overall spending was presented March 20 by Ryerson president Sheldon Levy and Paul Stenton, Ryerson’s vice-provost of university planning at a Budget Town Hall.

This year, universities and colleges in Ontario faced a one per cent reduction in grant money received from the provincial government. This coming year, the government is reducing the grants by another one per cent.

Add in the ever-rising costs of heating, water, and hydro in the city, along with the salary increases for the university’s staff, and Ryerson is faced with a tricky situation when trying to balance the 2014-2015 budget.

Government grants account for about 50 per cent of Ryerson’s annual revenue, and the university is being forced to make some changes in the school’s spending for the coming school year.

“To keep the lights on and pay the salaries we have agreed to, we are going to have to cut our spending by three per cent,” said Ryerson President Sheldon Levy.

To try to achieve this three per cent decrease in spending, Ryerson is asking each operating unit in the school find ways to cut back on their individual spending for the upcoming budget.

“We talk to all of the operating units, the libraries, the departments, and the faculties and we say ‘we think there’s going to be a budget cut’,” said Stenton.

“The people in these units work on this during the winter, then we clarify all their requests and plans for cuts, to come up with an allocation that we build into the budget. We do not want to rob the faculties of (economic) growth.”

There was also talk of the possibility of raised tuition fees. While no tuition fee increases have been finalized, the government is allowing each college and university in Ontario to increase their overall tuition fees by three per cent this coming September.

The finalized budget is expected to be announced in the spring.

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