FY2021 budget approved without cuts, defers compensation decisions

The Austin Community College District (ACC) Board of Trustees voted to approve the budget for FY2021. The $416 million budget maintains existing operations and currently approved initiatives without making any cuts.

"Our approach at this point is wait and see — let's make sure we can fund all existing operations and give it a few more months until we have the clarity needed to make longer-term decisions or decisions that would impact existing operations, including compensation," says Neil Vickers, executive vice president of Finance and Administration.

Trustees deferred faculty and staff compensation decisions until the fall or spring, when they expect to revisit the discussion. Full-time faculty will receive a non-compensated one-step increase. Even in a year when raises aren't given, a step increase ensures full-time faculty can continue to make progress toward the next faculty title.

The budget maintains the $15 collegewide minimum wage and current health insurance rates.

The budget includes funding for initiatives approved in prior years, such as:

  • Continued support of the 2014 bond program: Highland Campus Phase 2 is on track to open in spring 2021, and renovations to Rio Grande Campus should be completed by summer 2021. The budget accommodates operating dollars for when the new facilities open.
  • Continued support of the IT master plan: The first full year of ERP implementation was approved in December.

The college's revenue stems from three primary sources: tax dollars, state funding, and tuition and fees. Vickers explained that revenues are a concern because of the potential impacts of COVID-19 to local property values and state funding. In May, trustees voted to keep in-district tuition and fees unchanged for the seventh consecutive year to help keep the cost of an ACC education low.

The board will schedule a discussion in September or October as the effects of the Coronavirus become more clear and more information is released to review the college's revenue projections and consider any amendments to the FY2021 budget, such as salary increases for employees.