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Saskatchewan’s post-secondary institutions make adjustments for $11.7 million cut

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Saskatchewan’s post-secondary institutions make adjustments for $11.7 million cut
WATCH ABOVE: he province has a lot of work to do as they try to offset a billion dollar deficit. This includes $11 million in budgetary cutbacks to our post-secondary institutions. Provincial affairs reporter David Baxter has more on how they're adjusting to the change – Nov 24, 2016

The Saskatchewan government is working to offset the projected $1 billion deficit. This includes $11.7 million in budgetary cutbacks in post-secondary education.

A bulk of this comes from $9.3 million in grant reductions at the institutions. Advanced Education Minister Bronwyn Eyre said this makes up one per cent of the payments going to the schools.

However, University of Regina Provost Tom Chase said this is a challenging budgetary blow to absorb at this point in the year.

“Enrollment are higher than they have ever been and to find that amount of money on fairly short notice will indeed be a challenge for us,” he said.

The U of R is facing a $1.7 million grant reduction. Saskatchewan Polytechnic is taking a $1.8 million hit, and the University of Saskatchewan faces a $5 million cutback. The remaining $800,000 will be divided amongst other post-secondary institutions.

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Other cutbacks include $1.5 million in preventative maintenance, $400,000 for discretionary programs, and half a million dollars in ministerial administration.

“We tried to spread it as well as we could, as equitably as we could with that one per cent figure,” Eyre said.

Eyre did applaud the institutions for absorbing the decision as best they can.

This isn’t a new situation for the University of Regina. They faced a similar mid-year cut last year, and Chase said they were preparing for tougher financial times.

“There will be no layoffs at this stage. Again, deans have been managing very prudently in the expectation that the spring budget will be a difficult one,” Chase said.

The University of Saskatchewan was unable to provide a cut by deadline.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic faces a unique set of challenges with this decision. They have four main campuses in Regina, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, Sask. and Prince Albert, Sask. This is in addition to various satellite campuses across the province.

President and CEO Larry Rosia said that they understand where the government is coming from.

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“We need to take some time. You can’t do that in two days, given all of those locations and all of those moving parts,” Rosia explained.

“So we’ll sit down, we’ll analyze it, and our leaders are doing that right now.”

Advanced Education Critic Warren McCall said the government should have seen this coming when they released the budget in June.

“That it suddenly dawned on the government that they suddenly have a billion dollar deficit is unacceptable,” McCall said.

“Here again, we’ve got the people of this province that are going to be paying the price for this government’s mismanagement.”

McCall added that job training institutions should be the last place seeing cuts in these tough economic times.

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