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TCC proposed budget includes no tax or tuition increases

08/08/2012 11:15 PM

08/08/2012 11:31 PM

FORT WORTH -- Tarrant County College trustees are considering a $348.7 million budget that includes 3 percent raises for faculty and staff, a new indoor firing range for law enforcement training at the Northwest Campus and a 67,000-square-foot energy technology center at the South Campus.

"We have balanced a budget without a tuition increase, and we've balanced a budget without a tax increase," Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley told trustees at a budget workshop Wednesday night.

Tuition would remain $52 per semester hour. The tax rate would drop from 14.897 cents to 14.862 cents per $100 of assessed property value.

The decrease is attributed to the debt service portion of the total tax rate, which went down.

Trustees are expected to review the budget again Aug. 16. A trustee committee will decide today whether to call a public hearing before then.

Some trustees signaled a willingness to raise tuition to help pay for future student growth.

Trustee O.K. Carter proposed an increase of $2 per hour over the next three years. He said he was worried about possible state funding cuts.

Trustee Kristin Vandergriff proposed an increase to $55 per hour to avoid raising tuition year after year.

Hadley said the budget includes no increased expenses and savings in a number of areas, including reducing leased space, increasing class sizes and increasing the use of adjunct, or part-time, faculty.

The budget includes $5.1 million to pay for faculty and staff salary increases, she said.

The proposed budget also provides for developmental learning programs for students who haven't mastered necessary math or reading skills. It includes $3.1 million to establish "math emporiums" -- self-paced learning at computer stations with faculty nearby to help.

Two capital improvement plans are moving forward -- the indoor firing range and the proposed energy technology center.

Early estimates for the firing range indicate a cost of about $7 million, Hadley said. There is no cost estimate yet for the technology center.

Diane Smith,

(817) 390-7675

Twitter: @dianeasmith1

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