Petitioner is a non-stock, non-profit Catholic educational institution while respondent is a legitimate labor organization which is currently the official bargaining representative of all employees of petitioner except the faculty and consultants of the Graduate School, managerial employees and those who occupy confidential positions. Respondent has an existing CBA with petitioner for the period from June 1, 1999 to May 31, 2004. For the SY 2000-2001, petitioner increased its tuition fees for all its departments. Based on petitioner’s computation, the incremental proceeds from the tuition fees increase for SY 2000-2001 is P1,560,942.74, 85% of which is equivalent to P1,326,801.33. Consequently, respondent averred that 85% of P4,906,307.58, which is P4,170,360.59 should have been released to its members as provided for in their CBA effective June 1, 2000.
How should the 70%-30% tuition fee increase be allocated?
The law allows an increase in school tuition fees on the condition that 70 percent of the increase shall go to the payment of personnel benefits. Plainly unsupported by the law or jurisprudence is petitioner’s contention that the payment of such benefits should be based not only on the rate of tuition fee increases, but also on other factors like the decrease in the number of enrollees; the number of those exempt from paying the fees, like scholars; the number of dropouts who, as such, do not pay the whole fees; and the bad debts incurred by the school. The financial dilemma of petitioner may deserve sympathy and support, but its remedy lies not in the judiciary but in the lawmaking body.
The law plainly states that 70 percent of the tuition fee increase shall be allotted for the teaching and the nonteaching personnel; and that the payment of other costs of operation, together with the improvement of the school’s infrastructure, shall be taken only from the remaining 30 percent. The law does not speak, directly or indirectly, of the contention of petitioner that in the event that its total tuition income is lesser than that in the previous year, then the whole amount of the increase in tuition fee, and not merely up to 30 percent as provided by law, may be used for the improvement and modernization of infrastructure and for the payment of other costs of operation.