TEXAS CITY — College of the Mainland’s proposed budget includes across-the-board pay increases for employees, but the overall budget will not increase and could even be reduced, according to college officials.
College trustees will get their first look at a projected $32.8 million spending plan at a workshop today at 9 a.m.
The proposed budget hasn’t grown from last year, said college President Beth Lewis.
The administration has found ways to move some money around and use savings generated from not replacing some retiring employees to include money for things such as raises and to fund positions such as advisers at area high schools, Lewis said.
“We’ve been very careful,” she said. “We’ve been very frugal with how we are spending money.”
But a flat budget may not be enough for some on the board of trustees. Board Chairman Roney McCrary said he had some concerns about the number of non-faculty employees and the size of the budget that stemmed from the recent salary study presented to the board.
There could still be some cuts to be made that would reduce the budget, he said.
“We’d like to see the budget reduced,” he said. “I think all of our the taxpayers would like to see it reduced, too.”
Lewis said the administration is looking at ways to shrink the budget further. She said she hoped to have the budget worked out and finalized by the end of the month.
While there may be more cuts to be made 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 already available and in the college’s coffers, Lewis said.
If the board approves, the 4 percent increase could be applied retroactively for the fiscal 2014 budget year, which means employees could see a large paycheck in August, she 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.
Number of employees
The pay increase was one of the recommendations in a recent salary study presented to the board of trustees. But other parts of the study also suggested the college may have a higher number of non-faculty employees than other colleges in the area.
“There were some things in the salary study that caused us some reason to pause,” McCrary said.
Full-time faculty make up about 34 percent of the full-time employees at College of the Mainland, according to the 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.
“Some of those positions we might not need,” McCrary said. “If that were the case, then a flat budget would become then a reduction.”
But that is still something to be worked out, he said. It could be that the college needs to spend more in certain areas, for example its welding program to meet the need for more welders in the state, he said.
“We’ve got to weigh the budget against what the requirements are — what’s the right thing to do for the students,” McCrary said.
At a Glance
WHAT: The College of the Mainland board of trustees will meet in a workshop to discuss the proposed fiscal year 2015 budget.
WHEN: 9 a.m. today
WHERE: Trustee Boardroom at 1200 Amburn Rd in Texas City.