October 2, 2009
With the Canadian and world economies beginning to show signs of recovery, the University of Saskatchewan’s financial situation has also seen some improvement according to an update delivered to Council Sept. 17
Richard Florizone, vice-president of finance and resources, told the meeting of faculty representatives that the university’s income from investments, normally about $9.5 million annually, was about $7 million at the end of April, higher than anticipated for 2008-09. The pension solvency deficit also improved. As of July 3, what was expected to be a deficit of about $104 million was in fact about $93 million.
While those risks have moderated somewhat, Florizone said Saskatchewan’s declining potash revenue, which makes up about 20 per cent of the provincial budget, could have a direct impact on the annual operating grant the university receives from the government.
The university is already in the process of trimming $10 million from its operating budget over the next two years. Brett Fairbairn, provost and vice-president academic, told Council there was little that was new to report on how that process is going beyond that budget adjustment plans are being implemented by colleges and administrative units. Those plans include the elimination of an estimated 60 positions across campus largely through attrition and retirement.
“Common sense and evidence” indicates the university’s current course of action “is about right,” Fairbairn said, adding the institution should “take advantage of our comparatively strong position.”
Florizone said the university will have a better idea of the province’s financial picture when second quarter results are released in November. Those revenue numbers “may give a hint into what is to come.”