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Trent Board Approves Fifth Consecutive Balanced Budget for 2004-05

Budget strategy continues to focus on reducing accumulated deficit

From the Board of Governors' Meeting - April 30, 2004, Peterborough

Trent University's Board of Governor's today approved a $70,179,000 operating budget for the 2004-05 fiscal year.

The approval represents the fifth consecutive year that the board has approved a balanced revenue and expenditure budget.

Highlights of the budget include:

•  16 'net' new Peterborough tenure track faculty appointments

•  10 new research fellowships

•  13 new staff full time equivalents, half of which will be permanent increases

•  $438,000 for facilities renewal and $370,000 for deferred maintenance spending on capital infrastructure maintenance or improvements

•  $262,000 investment in information technology (networking and workstations)

•  additional operating costs of over $1.1 million for new academic space in the Peter Gzowski College at Symons and Argyle sites as well as the new Chemical Sciences Building

•  principal and interest payments on the projected Superbuild Project funding gap are included at an annual payment rate of $300,000

•  a balanced operating budget in 2004-05 with contributions of $364,000 and $551,000 to the operating budget's accumulated deficit in 2003-04

The budget is based on a number of key assumptions including: a zero per cent increase in the Base Provincial Government Grant for 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07; a zero per cent increase in undergraduate tuition for the next two years; and a freeze in Provincial Grant for Tuition Backfill for two years. To date, the province has only committed to one year of backfill funding for its tuition freeze.

Garth Brownscombe, Acting Vice President (Administration) noted that enrollment and the board's strategy to reduce the operating budget's accumulated deficit provided context for the development of the budget document. "The 2004-05 academic year will witness the peak of the double cohort phenomenon, with the flow-through of last year's high levels of new student intake of secondary school students from the new and old curricular streams. This coming academic year should be the final year of the double cohort intake."

Brownscombe added this will be the second year of implementation of the board's plan to reduce the cumulative deficit at Trent. Budget points to a small surplus of $97,000 by year- end that will be used to prepay the 2004-05 contribution to the accumulated operating deficit. Budget projections show a balanced budget for 2004-05, followed by projected deficits in 2005-06 and 2006-07, reflecting a gap due to largely frozen revenue rates (provincial grants and tuition) and increasing costs. The budget assumes increased expenses for electricity (twenty per cent), water (ten per cent) gas (seven per cent) and CPI (one per cent). Employer contributions to the pension plans will also be increasing and fringe benefits expenses will increase six per cent.

The board passed three motions approving the operating budget, a zero per cent tuition fee increase, and residence and meal plan fees.

President's Report

President Patterson provided the board with an update on a number of events and activities. In late March executive heads from Canadian universities gathered in Vancouver for the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada general meeting to discuss a number of issues including AUCC's future advocacy strategies.

Through the Council of Ontario Universities executive heads have established a number of task forces to feed into the government's consultation on an Accountability Framework and Review of the Post-Secondary Education sector. The sectoral review will examine areas for priority funding, financial assistance for students, specific targets for categories of students, performance indicators and monitoring and streamlined reporting requirements. Other issues being monitored by COU include a policy change for mandatory retirement and its impact on universities' staffing plans.

The president noted that Jessica Hill, Assistant Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, and Trent alumna, has been promoted to Deputy Minister of Children and Youth Services. The university sector is awaiting the delivery of the budget speech on Tuesday, May 18.

A small gathering was held on April 29 at Peter Gzowski College to announce a lead gift donation from Mr. David Morton and Mrs. Patricia Owens Morton. The $250,000 donation will be used to complete the "Morton Owens Lecture Hall" in the First Peoples House of Learning and the creation of an endowed scholarship for a Native Studies graduate student studying at Trent. At the ceremony, the president stated, "The University has been fortunate to have the Mortons' ongoing support and Prof. Morton's expertise as a faculty member. Their generous gift will go a long way to support the college project in Peter's name and the needs of our students. The University and the citizens of Peterborough are fortunate to have Pat and Dave's caring community leadership."

The board received an update on the economic impact of Trent University on the community. The impact statement confirms that Trent contributed $204.5 million to Peterborough and the surrounding region in 2002-03.

Senate has received the review of the Office of Research and Graduate Studies. In response to the review, Susan Clark, Vice President (Academic) recommended the creation of the position of Associate Vice-President Research and a position of Dean of Graduate Studies. Internal searches are underway with appointees to be in place for September 2004.

A number of important University awards were announced in the past month. Prof. Peter Dillon will receive the Distinguished Research Award. Prof. Eric Helleiner will receive the Symons Teaching Award. Prof. Emeritus John Earnshaw and Carol Murray, Senior Admissions Officer, will receive Eminent Service Awards. The awards will be presented at this year's convocation ceremonies.

New college heads have been confirmed: Prof. Michael Peterman, Catharine Parr Traill College; Prof. Stephen Brown, Champlain College; and Prof. David Newhouse, Peter Gzowski College. Both professors Peterman and Brown will be on leave in 2004-05. During this time Prof. Leonard Conolly will serve as interim college head at Traill and Prof. David Glassco will serve at Champlain.

Applications for full time study at Trent are strong. The University has made more offers to date at this time last year and acceptances are up almost 19 per cent. Preliminary numbers show a 12 per cent increase in summer part-time enrollment for Peterborough and a 14 per cent increase for Oshawa. Overall, summer part-time enrollments have increased 13 per cent from last year.

The Trent University Foundation will focus on two projects this year including raising funds for the Ontario Student Opportunities Trust Fund and the completion of stewardship thank you calls to top donors. The foundation will hold its annual general meeting on June 17 in Otonabee College.

Trent University hosted an education expo for teacher candidates in April where Deputy Minister of Education Suzanne Herbert delivered the keynote address to 200 students and faculty. Prof. William Atkinson was awarded close to $20,000 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation to purchase and install a high performance computer. Trent has joined 10 other Canadian universities and will host a Shad Valley summer program for exceptional secondary school students beginning in 2005.

Board Tour - Deferred Maintenance

Board members got a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes operation of the mechanical and electrical systems at the Symons Campus with James Trombley, of Trent's Physical Resources department. On a tour that focused on deferred maintenance, Mr. Trombley took board members to see what is often unseen - boilers, chillers, transformers and the main electrical switchboard. A significant portion of the tour focused on structural deficiencies and the upcoming replacement of some major mechanical equipment due to imminent changes in legislation, including the phase-out of R-11 refrigerant and the requirement that PCB transformers be eliminated. Mr. Trombley explained there are nine transformers that will require replacement by 2007; the University is planning to replace three per year over the next three years. The objective of upgrading other mechanical infrastructure, he noted, is to maintain a satisfactory level of service and to put the University in a position of proactive maintenance.

John Wordley, Director of Physical Resources presented background information on the overall condition of Trent's facilities and how the Facilities Condition Index is used to assess the quality of buildings. Based on the industry standard of setting aside two per cent of the value of a building in reserve for maintenance purposes, Trent should ideally invest $3 million in deferred maintenance per year. Currently, the University spends $1.2 million per year with $438,000 coming from the province's facilities fund, $370,000 self-funded by Trent and $400,000 from ancillary fees. This annual gap in deferred maintenance spending is on top of the University's $15-million backlog of deferred maintenance that has already been reduced from $27-million. Wordley emphasized that Trent is no better or worse off than other universities in Ontario and that deferred maintenance is a system-wide issue of concern.

DNA Cluster Update

President Patterson reported that the Cluster's strategic planning team has made significant progress on five planning areas including: development of intellectual property templates; completion of an international market capacity study that reviewed technology and service opportunities and identified four key business opportunities for which business case studies are being prepared; identification of strategic alliance partnerships; a commercialization business plan for the cluster including a tech transfer capability analysis; and the development of project management and coordination tools.

The results of the planning studies are being reviewed by the Cluster's board and will be the basis of a proposal going forward to the province's Biotechnology Cluster Innovation Program. Consultations with provincial government ministries that may provide funding or partner with the Cluster continue, including the ministries of Economic Trade and Development, Municipal Affairs and Natural Resources. It is understood that the government's objectives include seeing ministries develop stronger affiliations with universities. The president expressed appreciation to Jeff Leal, MPP, Peterborough and Sylvia Sutherland, Mayor of Peterborough, for their letters of support of the project sent to Joe Cordiano, Minister of Economic Development and Trade. Peter Adams, MP, Peterborough spoke about the DNA cluster in the House of Commons.

Construction Update

Garth Brownscombe updated the board on the status of the two building projects. The general contractor will be leaving the Chemical Sciences Building project April 30 with remaining deficiencies to be completed by Trent staff. The contractor will vacate the site of the new college within two weeks. The top three floors of the college containing residence rooms have been furnished. Office furniture will begin to be installed in May with office moves set to start in June. The University is applying for its occupancy permit next week for the college. Conference services will welcome its first booking of guests at the end of May. A grading and storm water management plan will also be completed.

Quality Assurance Plan

President Patterson advised the Board that universities are still awaiting details from the province on how the previous government's Quality Assurance Plan will be integrated into the new government's Accountability Framework. The president confirmed that previous spending patterns for the funding focusing on such items such as support for the staffing plan and investments in information technology would continue.

- 30 -

For further information, please contact:

Don Cumming, Senior Director, Public Affairs, (705) 748-1011, ext. 1224

Photo 1: Board of Governors Chair, Reid Morden (second from left), looks on as James Trombley discusses main electrical switchboard

Photo 2: Susan Clark, James Trombley, and Len Vernon

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Last Updated May 3, 2004