VC budget adopted with 3 percent salary hike

Carolina Astrain By Carolina Astrain

Aug. 21, 2013 at 3:21 a.m.
Updated Aug. 22, 2013 at 3:22 a.m.

With future expenses in mind, the Victoria College board of trustees approved a salary raise 1 percent less than what was originally proposed in their newly adopted budget.

At Wednesday's special board meeting, trustees approved a $32 million budget and a 3 percent raise for faculty and staff.

The board opted out of a 4 percent raise that was initially discussed because of costs the college is expecting to implement the Quality Enhancement Plan, said Keith Blundell, vice president of administrative services.

The 1 percent that would have gone to salaries will instead be placed into a contingency fund, leaving the budget at $32 million as it was first proposed.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools requires Victoria College to develop a Quality Enhancement Plan which is designed to enhance student engagement as part of the school's accreditation status.

The projected five-year cost to implement the Quality Enhancement Plan is about $2 million. The money would be used to pay for personnel, supplies and instructional programs.

In order to additionally offset the plan's cost, trustees also approved a $3 per semester credit hour increase in tuition in April.

However, the tuition increase is not expected to cover the entire cost of implementing the plan, college President Tom Butler said.

During the finance committee meeting prior to the board meeting, vice chairman Luis Guerra suggested putting benchmarks in place to track the plan's effect on VC students.

"We need to see if it's working," Guerra said.

In other business, trustees granted Butler a 3 percent pay raise and extended his contract through 2016. Butler will now earn $206,035 a year.

No member of the public spoke during the college's first tax rate public hearing Wednesday afternoon.

A second public hearing for the 2-cent tax rate increase is scheduled for Sept. 3. The tax rate is expected to be adopted on Sept. 9.



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