The $34.1 million budget was approved at the March 15 meeting of the College’s Board of Governors.
“After considerable work and deliberation on this year’s budget I am pleased that there will be an increase in College staffing,” said Kurjata. “There will be increased supports for a number of departmental areas at the College and these decisions ultimately help support our students.”
The net increase in staff amounts to 6.75 full-time equivalent positions, which calculates as the total number of paid hours that could potentially account for part-time and full-time employees in the 2017-18 fiscal year. The Trades and Academic departments as well as Aboriginal Education and International Education will benefit from increased support in addition to administrative departments such as Campus Services and the Registrar’s Office.
Kurjata noted that the top priority for the Board is always to question how budget pressures are managed to improve the student experience.
“Our number one priority at Northern Lights is always our students,” said Kurjata. “This budget also accounts for upgrades in our Dawson Creek and Fort St. John student residences and an increase in emotional support services for students.”
Northern Lights Vice President of Finance and Corporate Services, Anndra Graff, said another important focus of this year’s budget is addressing the objectives of B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint.
“Northern Lights College continues to align education and training with in demand occupations,” said Graff. “In 2017-18, the college will target about 25% of its provincial operating grant to ensure our students fill job openings.”
The program areas that this funding will go to are Social Worker, Early Childhood Education and Care, Applied Business Technology, Power Engineering, Business Management, Oil and Gas Field Operator, Education Assistant, and Health Care Assistant as well as Adult Basic Education (Career and College Preparation).
“After several months of dedicated work I’m pleased to report that the result of the 2017-18 fiscal plan is a balanced budget with a slight surplus comparable to last year’s budget,” said Graff. “This year’s budget is responsive to the needs of multiples departments and program areas with the end goal of giving students who attend Northern Lights College the best overall experience that we can deliver.”