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Dean: BCC wages falling behind
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Barton Community College’s top number cruncher is recommending raises for college employees in the next fiscal year.

Dean of Administration Mark Dean provided preliminary information on the Fiscal Year 2012 operating budget, Thursday at the trustees’ June study session.

"No wage increases were given for FY2009-10 or FY2010-11," Dean said. In lieu of raises last year, employees received one-time bonuses.

Barton uses the Compease salary administration program to compare its salaries to businesses in Great Bend and Manhattan that fall into similar categories. Compease provides a minimum, midpoint and maximum salary level for each staff position. "Barton’s staff are currently at 83.9 percent of the midpoint (average), which is down from 84.3 percent last year," Dean reported. But 78 BCC employees’ wages are "below minimum."

That doesn’t mean below minimum wage, but below the minimum on the Compease levels, he said. Some of those 78 would attain the minimum level by making just $16 more in the next year. Others would need to make as much as $2,000 more.

Falling behind competitors is taking its toll, he continued. "Barton’s applicant pool for open positions has declined and we are experiencing an increased number of individuals leaving due to wages. Barton must stay competitive with area businesses and other educational institutions."

The average wage increase at Kansas community colleges last year was 2.01 percent, which is also the amount the Consumer Price Index has changed (to date) for 2010-11, he reported.

Conservative estimates show the college can afford to bring the salaries of the 78 low-paid employees up and give all faculty and staff a raise, Dean said. He provided figures on how much more money it would take to fund raises from 1-4 percent ($203,500-$314,000, plus $127,000 to bring employees up to minimum).

Trustee Mike Johnson voiced support for pay increases next year.

"We’ve done an outstanding job of holding the line for the last couple of years," Johnson said. "I think we’re at a point where we’ve got to stop passing the buck and give a substantial wage increase."

On track

Dean also reported on the fiscal situation at the end of FY2010-11 and predictions for FY2011-12. The college received $410,000 in federal stimulus money last year, but it won’t be getting that again. And state aid will be reduced $105,000 from last year.

However, Dean said revenue estimates at this point are "based on some unknowns."

Revenue from local taxes won’t be known until valuations are done, although Dean does anticipate oil valuations will go up. The county valuation estimate will come later this month. Assuming the college can increase enrollment by at least 3 percent, a $1.2 million increase in tuition and fees should offset other anticipated losses, including about $60,000 less in interest on invested money.

The college has $346,269 more revenue at this time than compared to a year ago. So, while the FY2011 budget plan included using $353,000 of cash reserves, that hasn’t been necessary.