May 30, 2016
Dr. Larry Rosia
President and CEO
400-119 4th Avenue South
Saskatoon SK S7K 5X2
Re: An Open Letter to the President of Saskatchewan Polytechnic
Dear Dr. Rosia,
I write on behalf of the members of Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s Professional Services Bargaining Unit, and in the interests of the students we serve.
We are concerned about the significant increase in the number of managerial positions created at Sask Polytech over the last few years. This past academic year alone, the number of out-of-scope managerial position requests has increased dramatically. This brings the total from 113 to 150 – a 33 percent increase over 2014/15. Meanwhile, we continue to see cuts to our staff and programming.
We anticipate that the upcoming provincial budget will be a deficit budget, so now is not the time to be funding more management positions at the expense of students – the very people we exist to serve. The more bureaucratic layers created, the further we move from the priorities of our students.
Recently, your office announced that effective July 1, 2016, a total of 16 in-scope positions at Sask Polytech will be cut, affecting both bargaining units. While the number of managerial positions increases, the size of the academic and support staff is shrinking. This is not a coincidence. More funding allocated to the top means less funding where it matters most – on the frontlines.
Prioritizing managerial staff over frontline workers ultimately impacts the quality of education that our students receive. Not only has a ballooning bureaucracy led to staff cuts, it has also led to program cuts.
Premier Brad Wall has recognized the vital role of frontline staff in sectors such as health and education. Wall recently told the media that “transformational changes should always be about the frontline, improving service, and doing so in a way that’s perhaps more cost effective.”
Premier Wall is right. As a post-secondary institution, we should always strive to improve frontline services for students. In November the provincial government clawed back more than $1 million in operating grants for post-secondary institutions, including more than $600,000 from Sask Polytech. We realize that times are tight but that is precisely why re-directing money from the frontlines of education to managerial positions just doesn’t make sense. Students deserve high quality programming and educational services – not more managers.
The employees within the Professional Services Unit are proud to support the needs of our students, even without the ‘frontline’ credit. Our members ensure efficient processes such as registration, bookstore and library operation, and information technology services. These are the building blocks that allow our students to concentrate on their studies. However, the frustration of constantly being told to do more with less is taking its toll on the employees, on the services we provide, and ultimately on the students.
We, the Professional Services Bargaining Unit members, your employees, urge you as president of Sask Polytech to ensure that students no longer take a backseat to bureaucracy. We call on you to put our students’ needs first by ensuring that our limited resources are allocated to the services and support that students need at the ground level, rather than creating an institution that is rapidly becoming top heavy.
Bargaining Chair, Professional Services Bargaining Unit