Next year’s operational budget at Barton community college will include an additional 2 percent for salaries. The college’s board of trustees approved the budget on Tuesday with a provision to review the financial situation in January to see if larger raises are possible.
Faculty will see a 2 percent pay increase “across the board,” while other employees could see a greater or smaller percentage increase. That’s because the college has been adjusting wages to bring them more in line with market value over the years.
Although the trustees unanimously approved the Fiscal Year 2018 Operational Budget, there was some disagreement over the salary increase. Trustee Don Learned’s motion to spend another $250,000 and award 4 percent raises died when it failed to receive a second.
“I favor 4 percent,” Learned said. “I wish we could go 6 percent, because our salaries are so much lower.” Learned has compared Barton’s faculty salaries to what teachers at Great Bend USD 428 are paid.
Trustee Gary Burke’s motion to follow the administration’s recommendation with 2 percent raises included the instruction to review the college’s budget again in January. Trustee John Moshier seconded the motion.
Learned voted against that motion but did vote to adopt the budget.
“It would be nice to do the 4 percent, but I don’t think it’s wise,” Burke said. “I think the 2 percent raise is more in line with what our budget projection will be like.”
Trustee Mike Minton said he also liked the 4 percent raise but added, “I don’t think that would be the smart thing to do.”
Vice President of Administration Mark Dean has projected the college will need to dip into reserve funds next year to cover the budget.
The trustees also voted to approve a 2017-2018 “published budget.” This budget follows state guidelines its summary and will be published in the Great Bend Tribune as a legal notice.
It estimates the total tax to be levied at $8.5 million, up from nearly $8.1 million last year. However, the assessed valuation has increased, especially for oil, so the estimated tax rate will be 33.150 mills, which is slightly lower (0.108) than last year’s 33.258 mills.
The trustees will next meet at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 8, in room F-30, on the lower level of the Fine Arts Building. That meeting will include a public budget hearing where taxpayers may weigh in on the proposed use of all funds. After that, the board will vote to adopt the budget. The expenditures approved may not exceed the published budget.
Heilman’s contract renewed
Dr. Carl Heilman, who is starting his 12th year as BCC’s president, had his contract extended by another year.
Board chairman Mike Johnson said Heilman came to Barton at a difficult time.
“With his help we set a new course for the future,” Johnson said, noting the college has enjoyed a decade of “unprecedented growth. That’s one thing we can all be proud of. We’re in a much better place than we were (12) years ago.”