Monday, August 1, 2016

Faculty Compensation adjustments for 2016-2017

The Faculty Council has been actively engaged with Chancellor May and Talent Central regarding proposed compensation adjustments for 2016-2017.

As noted in the post from June 21, 2016, three new members were elected to the Board of Trustees in May and June of 2016. Each race was competitive and two races went to runoffs. Two of the winning candidates ran against opponents who promised to cut spending in order to cut taxes. One of the winning candidates has promised to continue fighting to cut spending and reduce taxes. Taxpayers throughout the county who are unhappy with rising property tax bills are pressuring – and will continue to pressure – their elected officials to reduce taxes, even though DCCCD taxes only comprise 4-5% of the average homeowner’s property tax bill, as noted in the DCCCD Multi Year Planning and Outlook (FY2017-2020), presented at the Board Work Session on April 5, 2016.
The Faculty Council has worked diligently this spring and summer to counter the strident anti-tax mood among many voters and to provide opportunities for Dallas County voters to learn more about the candidates: it published a voters guide and helped to organize and conduct four candidate forums before the elections; it has engaged discussions with the Chancellor and the executive team at a level unprecedented in the recent past; and it has reached out to the new trustees directly, to share faculty perspectives on the important roles our colleges play in our communities.

Property value assessments in Dallas County have risen significantly, but our colleges’ needs remain great. Our District has been run with fiscal conservatism for decades, often at the expense of necessary maintenance and infrastructure updates to some of our facilities that are over 40 years old. Moreover, salaries for many employees – particularly faculty hired between 1981 and 2006 – have not grown adequately to meet the District’s goal of “employee success,” or even to match the salary growth that benefited faculty hired as our colleges opened in the 1960s and 1970s.

Chancellor May and Talent Central have been working hard within tight budgets to win Board approval to raise entering salaries to be competitive in the marketplace and to create structures to allow faculty salaries to rise. The one remaining challenge is one 30 years in the making – the compression of faculty salaries – which is particularly acute for those faculty hired between between 1981 and 2006. Faculty should be encouraged that Chancellor May is taking steps unprecedented in the last two decades to present the Board of Trustees with a comprehensive list of District needs, including compensation adjustments that would promote employee success.

During the work sessions for the Board of Trustees on July 21 and 22 that covered a wide variety of District and college operations and priorities, Chief Talent Officer Susan Hall presented an expense summary that included $1.566 million for adjustments to faculty salaries in 2016-17. The Faculty Council will continue to engage with both Susan Hall and the Chancellor to refine her recommendations in order to better address the problem of salary compression. The Board will continue to balance its fiduciary responsibility with the many priorities our colleges need to serve our communities. A final budget is to be adopted at the regular monthly Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 6.

Until then, we can look forward to the following milestones, each of which will further crystalize the 2016-2017 budget and compensation adjustments to be included therein:

Tuesday, August 2: Board of Trustees Work Session to include Budget Presentation; 
Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees with an agenda item to discuss the proposed tax rate. The Board is required to take a record vote and schedule public hearings if the proposed tax rate will exceed the effective tax rate.

Tuesday, August 16: First of two public hearings on the tax rate, if required.

Tuesday, August 23: Second of two public hearings on the tax rate, if required.

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