North Island College approves balanced budget

Major difference from last year is $1.7 million in new funding realing to ESA programming

 

The North Island College Board of Governors approved the college’s 2012/2013 operating budget which was similar to last year’s budget — with one major exception.

A balanced operating budget of $38,115,644 was discussed and approved at last week’s board meeting. Carol Baert, NIC’s vice-president of finance and facilities, presented the budget at the meeting and noted that the major difference from last year’s budget is about $1.7 million in new funding relating to the Employment Skills Access (ESA) programming.

This new funding was announced as part of the provincial government’s Canada Starts Here: The B.C. Jobs Plan in December, and Baert said most of the training will happen during the 2012/2013 year creating a significant increase in the college’s continuing education and training revenues, as well as an increases to costs associated with running the programs.

According to the budget, continuing education and training contract services revenues are expected to total just over $2.4 million for this coming year, whereas last year these revenues totaled $376,000. Baert said this number tends to vary year-to-year between contract- and tuition-based programs, but this change was a big jump overall.

“This year, obviously that very large grant is additive revenue, over and above, so that’s really where the increase is — is the $1.7 million in skills access,” explained Baert.

The budget was based on the assumption that NIC would receive the same provincial base operating grant of $21,759,139 as it did last year, that tuition will rise by two per cent as the board approved earlier this year, and that enrollment numbers will be similar to this year.

Baert noted members of the college community had the opportunity to view the budget, ask questions and provide feedback through Budget Town Hall meetings, and the college’s Education Council.

Even with this boost in funding for the continuing education and training contract services, Baert told the Record balancing the college’s budget is becoming more difficult each year because, for the most part, government funding is static.

“It is getting harder,” Baert said. “We’ve had funding increases to provide for contractual labour increases, but we haven’t had any increases for just general non-wage inflation for many years and that just becomes a challenge so we try to find that through general operating savings as well as increases in tuition.”

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com