By Stephanie Swensrude
NAIT had projected a seven to nine per cent cut to staffing following Alberta’s 2020 budget. Instead, instructional staff faced cuts of up to 30 per cent. There have been no cuts to management or executive positions.
Former NAIT instructor Stirling Schaufele’s position was made redundant in early April.
“The government funding cuts alone cost the electrician program 22 instructors, which is about 30 per cent [of the] instructional staff from our program,” said Schaufele. “Most of the trade programs were in the same boat.”
The NAIT Academic Staff Association (NASA) is the union to which instructors at NAIT belong. According to NASA, there were no involuntary cuts to management or executive positions.
“They’re cutting instructors that are making sixty, seventy, eighty thousand dollars a year in salary … the executive branch [makes] between 150 and 250 thousand dollars a year and none of them were affected,” said Schaufele.
Schaufele also noticed a job posting went live on NAIT’s website the day his position was made redundant.
“They were at that time looking for a new executive member,” he said.
NAIT discloses the salaries of their top-paid employees. Among the highest-paid was Glenn Feltham, former CEO and President, who made around $500,000 a year from 2015 to 2018.
The institution also discloses the expenses of the executive board that relate to travel, accommodation and food. The executive team spent a combined $56,110 on travel in the past three quarters.
In the annual report from 2018/19, NAIT outlined some strategies for financial sustainability. Many were focused around doing less with more.
They aim to negotiate contracts with the “appropriate balance of affordability and ability to recruit the necessary staff.” The report also outlined the need to make class sizes bigger as they keep the same amount of instructors for more students.
The report made no mention of trimming executive salaries or travel expenditures.
NAIT did not respond for comment at this time.