Austin Community College board of trustees adopts $352.8 million budget

The Austin Community College board of trustees met Monday night to approve the district budget.

The Austin Community College board of trustees met Monday night to approve the district budget.

The Austin Community College board of trustees on Monday unanimously voted to adopt a balanced budget that included a 3 percent employee raise for the next fiscal year.

The $352.8 million fiscal year 2017-18 budget, which begins Sept. 1 and runs through Aug. 31, 2018, includes nearly $230 million for salaries and benefits, which makes up nearly 65 percent of the community college district's expenses.

The 3 percent employee raise costs ACC nearly $5.2 million. Employees receiving the raise are full-time faculty, adjunct faculty, classified employees, professional/technical employees, hourly employees and administrative staff, according to meeting documents.

About $196 million of ACC's revenue, or 55 percent, comes from local property taxes. Tuition and fees make up about $81 million, or 23 percent, of the college's revenue.

Tuition and fees remain the same this year, although according to meeting documents, ACC projects losing about $764,000 in revenue from tuition and fees in the next fiscal year.

Before officially voting on the budget adoption, board members had a lengthy discussion about compensation for  faculty and employees.

The full-time faculty raises for the next fiscal year are twofold, according to Neil Vickers, executive vice president of finance and administration: About 1.75 percent comes from step, or experience, increases each year; the other 1.25 percent was determined based on analyses done on the rising cost of living. ACC has determined through market analysis the living wage is $15 an hour, up from $14.23 an hour.

For adjunct faculty—who, like full-time faculty, are given raises based on experience and workload—the step increases are prorated based on the number of credit hours the employees teach. This means that an adjunct professor teaching fewer credit hours gets less of a step raise.

Several adjunct faculty members spoke about the disparity between the compensation increases full-time faculty receive and the increases adjunct faculty receives based on the board policy that determines how adjunct faculty are paid, along with the fact that even with the 3 percent raise, some hourly employees don't make $15 an hour.

"[The policy] is complicated," ACC CEO and President Richard Rhodes said. "It's easy to see we definitely appreciate our adjunct faculty, and we pay them well."

Vickers said with the exception of Collin County Community College, other community colleges across the state are considering 2-3 percent raises.


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