TEXAS CITY — College of the Mainland trustees discussed the possibility of reducing staff positions and closing the pool, even though the proposed budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year is about $140,000 less than the previous year’s.
In a meeting Wednesday, board members suggested the college look into possibly trimming the number of full-time employees in nonfaculty and administrative positions.
Full-time faculty make up about 34 percent of the full-time employees at College of the Mainland, according to a recent study. On average, full-time faculty comprise about 40 percent of the workforce at other community colleges in the area, according to the study.
At the time the study was conducted, College of the Mainland had about 214 full-time, non-faculty employees and about 111 full-time faculty. When compared to other area colleges such as Brazosport College, Wharton County Junior College, Lee College, Alvin Community College and Galveston College, College of the Mainland has more than 40 non-faculty positions above the average at the five other area colleges.
“The bottom line is we have to find out whether these people are surplus or not,” said board Chairman Roney McCrary. “If we do, then we have to address how we handle it.”
While there may be more cuts to the budget, money for pay raises is already available.
The money for a 4 percent across-the-board salary increase, which would cost the college about $652,000, is available and in the college’s coffers, College President Beth Lewis said.
The proposed budget includes a 2.6 percent pay increase to place employees on a new salary scale, she said. If approved by the trustees, employees would see that pay increase starting in September, Lewis said.
The college is making the salary adjustments because, while other colleges have adjusted their pay scales during the past few years, the College of the Mainland has not, she said.
A proposal to close the pool was greeted with mixed views. Some members of the board said the pool was a necessity for senior citizens.
If the pool closed, seniors would have to travel to the Texas City Natatorium.
Lewis said the pool needs $400,000 of renovations on top of the $150,000 allotted in the budget to stay open.
The college spent several hundred thousand dollars on the pool about four years ago. Lewis said there are concerns that more costly repairs will still have to be made.
“At some point, you have to ask how long you’re going to continue to put money into it,” she said.
The board will meet again June 27 for another round of budget talks.