Barton Community College’s board of trustees is considering a budget that will pay for salary increases and a few new jobs, without raising the mill levy on local property taxes.
The budget was discussed Tuesday at a board study session. A proposed budget will be approved for publication later this month, with the public budget hearing on Aug. 9.
The mill levy for the college has stayed around 33.124 for several years, by design.
“I believe this would be the ninth consecutive year,” Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman said.
A year ago, to keep that rate the same, the college levied about $900,000 less than the previous year. This year, oil valuations are down to $27 a barrel (from an all-time high of $84), but there have been increases in real estate to offset that. Even so, the college can expect to collect $20,000 less than last year, Dean of Administration Mark Dean said.
End of enrollment growth
Heilman said continued enrollment growth — 20 percent in five years — brought in more tuition, which helped offset the revenue losses. But the trend of increased enrollment is expected to end, in part because more Fort Riley soldiers who take Barton classes are being deployed.
The recovery from the recession also means fewer people are out of work or going to college to get a better paying job. Other colleges and technical schools are also competing for BCC’s students.
“We calculate a 2 percent decrease in enrollment this year,” Heilman said.
3.5 percent pay increases (or more)
For several years, the college has compared its salaries to those paid for similar positions in the region, using an independent study from the firm Compease. Low, midpoint and high ranges are reported.
Early on, the goal was to bring all salaries at BCC up to at least what others paid on the low end, and eventually to increase them to 100 percent of the midpoint level. Currently, Barton jobs pay about 89 percent of the midpoint, and a 3.5 percent pay increase would bring the college to 91 percent, Dean said.
Faculty salaries are on a schedule that would rise at the same rate for everyone. Pay increases for other jobs might be different percentages because the college is trying adjust salaries that were too low.
Trustees will set the salary increases based on the administration’s recommendation and their own comfort level, Heilman noted.
Mike Johnson, board chairman, asked Dean to bring three possible budgets to the next meeting, with pay increases of 3.5, 4 and 4.5 percent.
Barton Vice President Dr. Robin Garrett later addressed a pay increase for adjunct faculty – those who are not full-time teachers. They have not received any pay increase “in some years,” she said. The administration is suggesting a 17 percent increase, from $515 per credit hour taught to $600 ($1,800 for a three credit hour course).
BartOnline teachers will also be paid differently. It is no longer allowed to base pay on the number of students in an online class.
Instructors who teach large classes stand to earn less money, Heilman acknowledged. “We’re not going to satisfy those individuals,” he said. The administration proposes paying an additional $150 per credit hour for online classes.
An online class is intended to be more than a self-paced correspondence course, Garrett said. It involves a lot of interaction with students and can be more time consuming that a “face-to-face” class.
The college needs at least two more full-time instructors and more adjunct faculty, administrators said. Other new positions built into the budget include a coordinator to assist with requests from students with disabilities; a full-time welding instructor; someone to manage the student success program; another adviser and a part-time instructor/coordinator for the mental health technician program.