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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 16, Special Issue, September 2003

College budget and fee set to take off

Now that the appointed college council has established its 2003–04 strategic plan with 11 goals and pages of action plans, can we expect the college budget and fee to dramatically increase?

At the summer meeting, the chair of the College Council Finance Committee, Stu Dale (former president of the B.C. Principals and Vice-Principals’ Association) moved a motion that the 2003–04 budget of the college be adopted on an interim basis until a revised budget incorporating the strategic plan can be prepared. The revised budget is expected to be ready for the September 2003 meeting of the council.

The implementation of some of the following college council goals for 2003–04 will have an impact on the budget:

  • Facilitate complaints by parents and the public.
  • Process complaints more quickly.
  • Force teachers to continuously requalify and recertify by establishing continuing-education requirements.
  • Expand communications with parents and the public.
  • Establish standards for the education, professional responsibilities, and competence of members.
  • Strengthen the technological capabilities of the college.

The implementation of these goals will likely mean more staff and more money. The former college council, consisting of 15 elected members and 5 appointees, adopted a 2003–04 budget of $5.3 million. The 2003–04 fee for members is $90 (up from $70).

One major new expense will be the council secondment/per diem policy that was adopted by the council at its first public meeting in June 2003. College documents that were distributed at the August 2003 meeting of the council indicate that the secondment/per diem costs "will likely end up higher than budgeted." This is because most of the appointed councillors will not be seconded. Most appointed college councillors will receive a $250 per diem (in addition to expenses) for any day they are working on college business. Any appointed councillors who are working in the school system will be seconded when they are conducting college business on work days during the school year. If a seconded member works on a weekend or in the summer, they will also receive the $250 per diem. It is not unusual for college councillors to work more than 60 days in a school year. In past years, the council chair worked more than 100 days on college business. The bill for per diem costs will be considerable!

The other goals of the college will result in higher costs for the college. The communication and technology plan will increase costs. With the new complaints process we can also expect increases in legal, investigations, and discipline costs. In Ontario, when the College of Teachers introduced the teacher recertification program (continuing teacher education) the fee increased by $35 in one year! The Ontario recertification program (called the Professional Learning Program) increased the Ontario college staff by 66 people! We can expect the continuing-education program that is referred to the strategic plan to dramatically increase the budget.

The undemocratic college council, with political appointees, including parent representatives, will run the college and spend the money, but the teachers will pay the fees.

– Mike Lombardi

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