FORT WORTH — Tarrant County College faculty members and staff will get 3 percent raises in the fall, which will cost $6.2 million annually.The raises were given based on an increase in the cost of living, Trustee O.K. Carter said.“The rate of inflation for this region is bouncing around 2 percent,” he said, adding that the raises will keep TCC competitive.Board members voted 7-0 for the salary increases as part of the $406 million budget for 2014-15 approved late Monday. Trustees had two options for the budget: to raise taxes or not. They ultimately decided against raising taxes on a 4-3 vote.Board President Louise Appleman and Trustees Bill Greenhill and Gwendolyn Morrison voted for the tax increase. Appleman said it would have cost the average household about $8 a year to help teachers who were displaced at the Northeast Campus because of an early college high school partnership with the Grapevine-Colleyville school district.TCC would have had an extra $7 million to find alternate space for the teachers, whose old building was taken over.Carter, who voted against the tax increase, said some entities other than households would have ended up paying “a lot more than $8 a year.”Trustees raised the minimum salary to $12 an hour for support staff. Adjunct faculty will earn an extra $1 an hour, and full-time faculty will receive an extra $1 per hour of overtime, Appleman said. “We think it sends a good feeling to our employees,” TCC Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley said before the vote Monday. “More importantly is what it does for retention for our employees. We have a lot of people in those categories who will leave us for an additional 25 cents per hour, because 25 cents per hour makes a lot of difference to those who do not make that much.” Tuition will remain the same, but the system will allocate $1.4 million in “sticky space funds” to create areas where students can congregate, like study areas, for a systemwide supplemental instruction program in the fall. The $1.4 million is only a portion of about $4 million used for those areas. As part of the program, the faculty will choose the hardest courses they teach and the system will add former students as tutors to help with classes like calculus.“It teaches students to work together. The best way to learn and demonstrate your knowledge is to teach someone else,” said Karen Silverberg, a paralegal studies professor and faculty association president at the Northeast Campus. The approved budget is about $11 million more than last year, paid for with an increase in property tax revenue, Carter said.
Monica S. Nagy, 817-390-7792 Twitter:@MonicaNagyFWST