Arts bldg 2015By Mark Ordonselli

While McGill’s cost-cutting measures will remain in place, staff salary commitments will be honoured and work will soon begin to modernize McGill’s buildings and IT infrastructure, Provost Anthony C. Masi told Senate in his annual budget presentation on April 22.

Until a few weeks ago, McGill was projecting a $7-million deficit in FY2014-15, due mostly to the $20 million in cuts imposed by the Quebec government last fall. But in March, the government re-assessed the number of full-time-equivalent McGill students counted in previous years. “They admitted that they owed us more money,” Masi said, and transferred some $12.2 million to McGill.

Thanks largely to that cash infusion, McGill will post a modest $4.3-million surplus for FY2014-15 – around 0.6 per cent of McGill’s operating budget. Masi warned, however, that “this is not a hard number, because we still haven’t arrived at year-end, and because there will be expenses in the month of April that will see that number go down – if not to zero then maybe into negative territory.”

If, when all expenses are accounted for, McGill does indeed complete FY2014-15 with a surplus, it will be automatically used to help pay down the university’s accumulated deficit, which currently hovers just below $100 million.

Masi made a similar presentation to the Board of Governors on April 28, following which the Board approved the proposed budget.

Masi told Senate that the current fiscal year, which ends on April 30, was “the third year in which we’ve had major cuts, and we’re anticipating more for next year.” The new Quebec budget, tabled March 26, included some $70 million of new cuts to Quebec’s university network for FY2015-16. Of that amount, McGill expects its share to be approximately $11 million.

Despite the difficult financial environment, Masi noted that McGill will honour all its salary policy commitments for FY2015-16, at a cost of $22 million. As well, the university will begin tackling an estimated $1 billion-plus in deferred maintenance needs, to update its buildings and IT infrastructure.

Read more in the McGill Reporter.