This year’s round of reducing Brock’s budget deficit will be less daunting than first anticipated.That news was part of President Jack Lightstone’s budget update to 300 faculty and staff at his Town Hall meeting on Wednesday Feb. 17 in the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre.The University is commencing the process of formulating the 2010-11 budget, which is part of a multi-year exercise to achieve a balanced budget and pay off accumulated operating deficits while at the same time seeking to enhance the learning experience at Brock.As part of that effort to bring annual expenditures in line with annual revenues, it was estimated last spring that Brock would have to find 5 per cent in savings and/or new, additional income for its 2010-11 operating budget.But several factors — one of them being higher than expected enrolment in Fall 2009, largely because of increased retention — have reduced the target to 2 per cent of the base operating budget.Lightstone said that one reason for increased enrolment due to retention is the BOOST program, a new initiative by Student Services that gives students in academic jeopardy the opportunity to improve their standing so they can continue their education. The related tuition, ancillary fees and government grants associated with the greater than expected enrolment had a significant positive impact on University revenues.In a letter to faculty and staff following his Town Hall meeting, Lightstone said the need to reduce the budget deficit does not necessarily mean making cuts. He said the Brock community can collaboratively grow its way out of its budget squeeze through innovation and positive initiatives.“If we collectively act quickly enough to identify and implement other operational and pedagogical innovations for 2010-11, we might further change our net revenue outlook for 2010-11 (and certainly beyond) for the better,” he said.“To the degree we can be operationally flexible and open to change and experimentation, we can continue to grow our way out of our financial challenges, while enhancing our students’ experiences.”Quick links:• Jack Lightstone’s letter to faculty and staff• Slideshow from the Feb. 17 Town Hall meeting

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