News Archives: GPRC Tightens Belt, Builds Strategically for Future
Released: Friday, May 3rd, 2013
“We have made our cuts; we will submit a balanced budget to the Minister as legislated,” says Don Gnatiuk, President and CEO of Grande Prairie Regional College. GPRC today hosted a news conference to explain the impacts of the $4 Million shortfall in expected funding after the system-wide reduction of -7.3% was announced by the Ministry in March.
“We recognize that this is an issue of an entire system, rather than of a specific institution within it,” says Pete Merlo, Vice-Chair of the GPRC Board of Governors. “GPRC is committed to being a part of the solution. The Board is exceptionally proud of the executive team of this College for their careful and strategic approach to this challenge.”
In the weeks since the announcement, GPRC has worked diligently to identify cost-saving efficiencies with the least possible impact on personnel, and with negligible impact on students. “We are quite confident that students will not feel a negative impact from the changes we have identified,” Gnatiuk says. “There will be no tuition increase, and we have made our decisions with our focus on service to our students. We have tightened our administrative processes, centralized functions, put a severe chill on discretionary spending, and frozen the salary grids of administration.“
GPRC has not found it necessary to cut programs or close departments and campuses as a result of this budget. “It has taken time, and long hours of work by members of the various departments,” says Gnatiuk. “We invited input from everyone in the institution, and they helped us to identify numerous creative solutions. I could not be more proud and grateful.”
After a rigorous process of identifying the impact of vacancies, retirements, resignations and offering incentives for voluntary separations, the College sought opportunities for workload efficiencies. “Each step of this process has reduced the need for negative impact on our folks,” Gnatiuk explains. “I am confident that we have achieved this balanced budget while causing the least possible pain to individuals.”
This week, it has been necessary to lay off 18 GPRC employees as part of the budget solution. “It is always sad to say goodbye to an employee. We regret losing talented people from our institution, and have nothing but gratitude for their exemplary contributions to the College,” says Gnatiuk. “These difficult decisions are not about individuals, but about the hard decisions necessary in order to achieve the required change in the way we do business.”
Through all of these measures – retirements, voluntary separations, workload redistribution and layoffs - the total number of employees at GPRC is decreased by 45 positions. The personnel changes account for over $3 Million of the total budget shortfall. Changes to systems, processes and service levels account for an additional $1 Million.
“Guided by our Vision, Mission and Values, we have focused on determining our institutional priorities,” Gnatiuk says. “We have made strategic rather than “across the board” cuts, ensuring that GPRC will be well prepared to offer learners the same excellent programming and services they have always expected from our institution. We have also made investments, creating ten new positions in strategic areas of growth (i.e. trades and continuing education) to accommodate the expressed needs of our stakeholders. We are continuing to look outside our institution to further partnerships and initiatives. At the same time, we are identifying areas of strategic spending to make our organization stronger. The way forward is to streamline and cut where necessary, while investing where it counts.”
“Our Executive Team has approached this budget process as a challenge to discover how the College can ‘do things better,’ being creative and flexible,” says Merlo. “GPRC is investing in a variety of areas and initiatives that this Board believes will serve our learners and move our College forward. GPRC is ready to move forward in strength within the parameters of the changed post-secondary system in this province.”
For comment please contact:
Don Gnatiuk, President and CEO
Grande Prairie Regional College