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Contact: Ann Hatch

For immediate release — Sept. 4, 2013
News brief

(DALLAS) — During their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 3, members of the Dallas County Community College District’s board of trustees approved the 2013-2014 budget and also passed a property tax increase, which will provide approximately $16 million in additional funds. The budget includes, among other items, a 1-percent salary increase for most of DCCCD’s full- and part-time employees (excluding senior administrators).

A total of $515,705,661 was approved for the 2013-2014 budget.

The current tax rate on a $150,000 home (after the homestead exemption) is $143.25 annually; the new rate will be $149.64 on a $150,000 home — a total annual increase of $6.39.

Additional funds generated by the tax rate increase will be used for:

  • Continuing upgrades to technology used for instruction, information and infrastructure;
  • Instructional equipment at all seven colleges;
  • A 1-percent, across-the-board salary increase for all employees (excluding senior administrators);
  • A 3.3-percent increase in adjunct faculty pay (which includes the across-the-board 1-percent salary increase) to ensure that DCCCD remains competitive and can retain high-quality adjunct faculty members;
  • The addition of 50 new full-time faculty members as the district adjusts its workforce based on changes in workload limits required by the Teacher Retirement System of Texas (TRS) — which also contributes to improved student success;
  • Initiatives that will enhance student success by enabling each college to implement its own Quality Enhancement Plan;
  • Continuing progress in planned facilities maintenance work that minimizes growing deferred maintenance obligations in facilities at 17 sites (many built in the 1970s) — more than 4.5 million square feet.

Ed DesPlas, executive vice chancellor for business affairs, outlined several objectives covered by the new budget: “Our budgetary objectives include avoiding enrollment caps; maintaining the low cost of tuition — even as we strive to move toward Texas community college market rates while remaining among the lowest 25 percent in tuition rankings for our state’s two-year schools; planning for minimal change in state appropriations; avoiding further debt; and reducing and maintaining control of our costs.”

Declining state appropriations, enrollment growth, the addition of more space following the completion of the district’s bond program and poor economic factors over the past five years are factors that prompted the request for a tax rate increase, according to DesPlas.

A handful of citizens attended the meeting and voiced their opposition to the property tax increase; two other public hearings were held on Aug. 20 and 27. Jerry Prater, chair of the DCCCD board of trustees, said that area residents pay taxes that support the Dallas Independent School District, the city of Dallas, Parkland Hospital, Dallas County and the Dallas County Community College District, in that order.

Prater added, “DCCCD accounts for a little more than 4 percent of your total tax bill. In other words, 96 percent of your tax bill supports those other four entities.”

He also said, “I agree with our board members that we must do the very best job we can for our students and the taxpayers, in any manner we can, to squeeze sources of revenue to meet those needs. Cuts in state funding have forced us to look at other sources, and we must continue to maintain the quality of our faculty, our facilities and technology to prepare our students for the 21st-century workforce.”

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