Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

U of W looks for new revenues

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The University of Winnipeg has created seven new tenure-track professors' positions in its budget for next fall.

The $100-million budget that U of W's board of regents passed behind closed doors Monday night also replaces 14 professors' jobs that had been left vacant and creates another 10 professors' positions at the cost of dropping sessional lecturers.

But the balanced budget is coming at a cost -- $4 million worth of jobs are being left vacant across campus, up from $2.6 million this school year.

The university will restructure several key areas, including the U of W Foundation, after its capital campaign ends in the fall, vice-president of finance Bill Balan said Monday night. The foundation will continue to handle endowment funds, but fundraising staff on contracts could see their jobs end.

"We're hoping to make efficiencies" that could include layoffs in several areas of university operations, Balan said. "We're slating most of it to be vacancy management and attrition."

Balan denied reports a dozen middle managers have already been laid off.

Balan credited provincial funding for a 3.3 per cent increase in revenue.

Management salaries have been frozen again next year. Senior administrators wages were frozen for the third straight year and middle managers for the second year in a row.

Balan said that the new science complex opening in the fall will require $1.5 million in additional operating costs. On the other hand, U of W is generating $2.1 million in new revenue from rents paid by private-sector businesses on campus, housing and food services, and is searching for new sources of revenue.

That could include renting out vacant space to community organizations and creating its own version of University of Manitoba's SmartPark -- private research space on campus.

The university has also found the money for $250,000 worth of new scholarships and bursaries for second- and third-year students.

The budget set aside an additional $1.1 million for anticipated shortfalls in pension contributions, on top of the $600,000 annual loan payments that U of W makes for pension problems.

During bitter labour negotiations with its professors this winter, the university said it needed to find an additional $3 million for pension problems. "Some was set aside last year," Balan said.

The provincial budget gave universities annual grant increases of five per cent for the next three years, and indefinitely capped tuition increases at the provincial rate of inflation -- about one per cent.

However, it is known that U of W has loan payments of $600,000 to cover past pension shortfalls, and -- close to three per cent of the budget.

Meanwhile, the University of Manitoba will take its budget to the board of governors next Tuesday.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 10, 2011 B2

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