On March 1, the board of trustees for the Dallas County Community College District approved three measures aimed at preparing for deep budget cuts in state funding. The board approved termination of the Phased Faculty Retirement Program, a retirement incentive program, a reduction in the business and travel stipend, and a reduction in Faculty Formula Pay.
The exact level of cuts in funding from the state is still unsure, but the board, district and colleges have been working for months on plans to reduce costs.
One change is the elimination of the Phased Retirement Program for faculty members. This program will end on March 31, so those who might be interested in the program must submit their paperwork before the end of the month.
Another decision made by the board was to approve a retirement incentive program that would be available to all employees who meet the retirement criteria outlined. Employees who turned 65 by Aug. 31, 2010 and have at least 10 years of service, or employees whose age plus years of service is 80 or greater, are eligible. This measure is aimed at reducing the general payroll. A report in The Dallas Morning News said that there are 634 employees in the district who meet the criteria. There are two offers being made; one that would offer employees 80 percent of their annual salary to retire by Aug. 31 and another that would offer 50 percent to retire by Jan. 1, 2012.
Employees who are eligible for the retirement incentive will be receiving additional information from the District Human Resources Office outlining details for the offers. There are specific deadlines for the each of the two offers that eligible employees will need to meet.
Business and travel money for administrators was cut by 50 percent and Chancellor Wright L. Lassiter's stipend was reduced by $20,000. Faculty formula pay for summer and other short sessions was also reduced by 50 percent. All of these changes are set to begin Sept. 1, and have no effect on this year's summer sessions.
The measures are expected to save the district $6.6 million to $10.1 million, depending on how many people retire. If too few people take the incentive, Edward Des Plas, executive vice chancellor, told The Dallas Morning News that the district could consider layoffs, pay reductions, enacting a hiring freeze and increasing class sizes.