College Council Election to Be Conducted Electronically | Call for Nominations | New Council Members | Interest Grows for Teacher Job Fair | Bernard Adam Apppointed Chair of Discipline Committee | College Issues First Professional Advisory | Credentials Checking Process Helps Protect Profession's Integrity | Providers' Area Up and Running | Individual Learning Options Broaden PLP Credit Possibilities | Teach Ontario Site Makes Finding and Filling Teaching Jobs Easier | Teachers Holding Permanent Letters of Standing Urged to Join the College | 2003 Budget Approved with Fee Increase Offsets PLP Costs | Dispute Resolution Program Reports | Discipline Panel Decisions
Budget Approved with Fee Increase Offsets PLP Costs
September 27 meeting, Council approved a 2003 College budget-including
a $35 increase in annual membership fees to offset the costs of the Professional
Learning Program (PLP).
The PLP as designed by the College allows members to choose from a steadily growing range of opportunities for professional growth and career development without reference to employers' interests. College costs to implement and maintain the program involve approving providers and courses, building an infrastructure to support members by providing ongoing information about courses and how to access them, and keeping accurate records of members' progress.
"The College would have shown a small budget surplus-even with the growth in our service to members-had it not been for the costs to implement and operate the rapidly expanding PLP," said College Registrar Joe Atkinson.
In drafting the budget, Finance Committee Chair Solette N. Gelberg said the committee looked for ways to decrease costs without decreasing service or mandated responsibilities. "Operating the Professional Learning Program to maximize the benefits to our members is costly," she said. "To meet this responsibility requires an additional $7 million in 2003 and since the provincial government has so far declined to support the program, this increase became inevitable."
Membership fees will rise to $139 from $104 effective January 1, 2003. Even so, College fees remain among the lowest of the 37 self-regulated professions in Ontario.
In her September 13 response, the Minister said she would study the College's request and that it "raised a number of issues that require careful consideration" including "impacts on the College's decision-making autonomy and management flexibility."
In August 2001, the College presented the Minister of Education with a business plan for the PLP outlining the $8.2 million in one-time, start-up costs and $10.2 million in annual operating costs at maturity. The Ministry provided $8 million for implementation in November 2001.
Atkinson said the annual budget recommendation to College Council involved a thorough review and justification for every initiative. For the 2003 budget, department co-ordinators and managers analyzed issues and budgets for various deliverables beginning as early as January 2002. Senior staff identified strategic initiatives, pressures and activities as a result of changes to the College's mandate or in anticipation of new regulations or legislation. Twenty initiatives, including an analysis of probable milestones and impacts on College units and stakeholders, were reviewed by senior management, pared, ranked and presented to Council members over three sessions in July. The extensive, pre-budget planning effort enabled College management to provide Council with options to meet a variety of organization and member needs.
In financial terms, accumulating financial resources of a sufficient size and without reliance on borrowing enables the College to respond to unexpected risks, take advantage of opportunities, and stabilize membership fees when possible.
As passed, the budget reflected reductions recommended by the Finance Committee totalling almost $1.6 million.
For budgeting purposes and to reflect the pattern of annual growth in membership, the budget was based on an anticipated membership of 190,000. College membership for 2002 is forecasted at 187,000. Membership fees and fees derived from other sources-such as registration, evaluation and reinstatement-comprise the College's main revenue sources.
Efforts to increase member, stakeholder and employer understanding, and application of College standards will continue through outreach activities and case study workshops.
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