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2014-15 operational budget announced by NLC

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DAWSON CREEK – Northern Lights College is undertaking program and staffing-related decisions to achieve a balanced operational budget for 2014-15.

The $31.7 million budget was approved at the April 9 meeting of the College’s Board of Governors.

In undertaking budget deliberations, members of the College’s Administration and Executive committees made decisions to address financial pressures totaling approximately $875,000. Financial pressures included:

  • Reduced operational funding from the Province’s Ministry of Advanced Education, as outlined in the 2013 provincial budget;
  • Eliminated base budget funding for English as a Second Language instruction;
  • Mandated wage and salary step increases for unionized staff members;
  • Increased amortization costs; and
  • Increased building maintenance and utilities costs.

As well, in alignment with NLC’s strategic objectives, staffing numbers will be increased or repurposed to better serve the NLC community in key areas including: Student Services, Trades and Apprenticeship programming, Academic and Vocational programming, International Education, Payroll, Food Services at the Dawson Creek Campus, and Information Technology.

Colleges in British Columbia are mandated to operate with a balanced budget each year. Therefore, in order to mitigate the financial pressures and strategic staffing decisions, the following measures have been taken by NLC to achieve a balanced budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year:

  1. Accepted nine applications for early retirement or voluntary leave.
  2. Implemented a temporary hiring freeze for the final two months of the 2013-14 fiscal year.
  3. Increased domestic tuition rates by two per cent, the maximum allowed by the Ministry of Advanced Education.
  4. Undertaken a review of programming, including analyses of costing, staffing and student numbers. As a result, the following program-related budget decisions have been made:
    • Cancellation of the Visual Arts program (Applied and Academic certificates) at the Dawson Creek Campus. Individual courses that have demonstrated sufficient popularity through good registration numbers will be shifted to the Workforce Training/Continuing Education department, and offered based on student interest levels.
    • Adoption of a new format for delivering Career and College Preparation courses at all NLC campuses. Fewer courses will be offered via in-class delivery. However, students will have access to a larger array of courses through online offerings, and in-person tutor support at NLC campuses.
    • Realignment of staff in the Workforce Training/Continuing Education department.
  5. Restructured nine current program support positions from regular to seasonal.
  6. Commenced the layoff process, where applicable, with impacted staff members. 

To reach a balanced budget position, 6.55 FTE permanent positions will be reduced from the College. This figure includes a total of 18.5 FTE positions that are impacted directly through layoff, voluntary leave, or early retirement.

However, the position reductions are offset by the creation of 11.95 new FTE positions and 21.75 FTE vacant positions (33.70 FTE total positions) across the College potentially available to impacted staff members.

Impacted staff members have been informed during meetings with College and BCGEU representatives. A general announcement via a College-wide staff videoconference occurred earlier today (Friday, April 11).

“This has been an extremely difficult budget process for Northern Lights College. Simply put, we are faced with increasing costs and decreasing revenues from our traditional funding sources. At the same time, we are trying to ensure that our students receive the necessary education and training to help meet labour needs in the northeast and across the province, or to continue their studies at another institution,” said Laurie Rancourt, NLC President and CEO.