Provincial budget at a glance
• Memorial University was granted $197.9 million in operating funds ($32.2 million more than last year) and $20.4 million in capital funds in the 2006-07 provincial budget.
• On the operations side, the additional $32.2 million operating funding includes funds for salaries and benefits increases; and additional White Paper initiatives funding (totalling $7.5 million), including a grant-in-aid to continue the tuition freeze ($900,000), funds to cover energy cost increases and other inflationary costs. The tuition freeze means Newfoundland and Labrador has the lowest tuition fees in the country outside of Quebec.
• The additional operating funds also include $2.25 million for four strategic initiatives: MI training vessel, $1.1 million; new research technology (water jet cutting), $350,000; MI Foxtrap Training Facility, $500,000; Facilities Management apprenticeship program, $300,000.
• On the capital side, $20 million has been allocated as follows: deferred maintenance, $4 million; equipment for teaching and learning, $1 million; White Paper infrastructure, $2.4 million; infrastructure initiative, $13 million, which includes the final payment of Opportunity Fund contribution by government of $500,000. The need to revitalize important areas of the university has been recognized for some time. For example, Memorial needs a new sciences research building to replace the aged Science Building, and needs to improve its student residences by revitalizing existing buildings and developing new residences in St. John’s and Corner Brook. The budget gives Memorial the opportunity to start some of those projects.
• Centre of Environmental Excellence headquartered at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Memorial’s campus in Corner Brook, will receive support. ($500,000).
• Research funding also got a boost in the budget. The government has provided $7.5 million in support of research, which is an increase. Memorial University and College of the North Atlantic researchers will be able to access that fund to lever additional research funding from federal and private sources.
• Based on the budget announcement, some staff salary increases can be processed, in line with the government salary increase template for public sector organizations. As of April 1, university employees in the non-bargaining unit, management and MI NAPE categories will receive a two per cent increase. Other employee groups (MUNFA, CUPE, MUN NAPE) are in or about to enter negotiations.