Okanagan College is promising additional student services and expanded access to programs after passing its largest-ever operating budget. The $121.7 million budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year was passed by the college’s board of governors on Tuesday, March 26.
“It’s encouraging to witness the college continue to grow and provide increased program opportunities and support for students,” said Chris Derickson, chair of the board of governors. “The college is an important economic engine in the communities we serve – something that is driven home by the fact that $88 million of the $121.7 million budget is wages that we pay.”
The new budget includes funding for 17.5 full-time equivalent (FTE) faculty and instructors, and 16.6 FTE support and exempt staff.
It also includes funding for increased student counselling services in Salmon Arm and Penticton, an immigration consultant and cultural liaison positions for international students in Penticton and Vernon.
A new Tourism Management Diploma program will be offered in Revelstoke beginning in September, and there are new two-year diploma programs being offered in Collision Repair and Auto Service Technician.
The budget also provides funding for completion and implementation of a wellness strategy as well as a strategy to make the campus more inclusive for Indigenous and international students.
“It is a challenge to balance the budget against the opportunities that are presented by the various departments in the institution,” says Curtis Morcom, vice-president of employee and corporate services, who presented his first budget to the board after assuming his role in 2018.
“I was impressed by the scope of developments that were presented by the college departments through the budget process. What was clear was that our students and employees are interested in improving student services, broadening program offerings, and ensuring that Okanagan College is sustainable in the long-term.”