Pima College increases property taxes to update ‘archaic’ pay structure | Local news

After years of stagnant wages, Pima Community College plans to increase employee pay.

The PCC Governing Board voted Wednesday night to increase the portion of property taxes that specifically support the college by 4%, before it passed a $363.4 million total operating budget for fiscal year 2023, which starts July 1.

The owner of a $100,000 home will pay about $5 more a year in taxes.

The hike will boost the college’s revenues by $5 million in fiscal year 2023.

Earlier this year, the board also voted to raise tuition by $2 a credit hour to increase cash flows, sustain pandemic-era student support services and offset a dramatic enrollment decline over the past several years.

The college receives hardly any financial support from the state Legislature, and relies heavily on local property taxes and tuition revenues to operate.

In addition to allocating $49 million for continued build-out of the Centers for Excellence and other deferred maintenance projects, the college plans to spend approximately $9 million this year to raise the salaries of its roughly 2,400 employees.

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“Our priority this upcoming year is really to focus on employee compensation,“ said David Bea, executive vice chancellor for finance and administration at PCC, who added that state budget reductions over the past decade have limited the college’s ability to better compensate its employees.

“Over time, our compensation structure has degraded and has become archaic,” he said.

In some cases, newer employees are paid higher salaries than their more experienced colleagues because of outdated pay raise schedules and a market demand to offer higher pay to fill open positions.

To change that, the college is implementing a new pay structure for regular faculty, staff, and administrators that will set a minimum salary of $16.15 an hour and compensate employees based on outside market comparisons of their job duties. For example, a position that requires high-level technical knowledge would have a salary that’s competitive with similar jobs outside of the college.

PCC is also creating a tiered adjunct faculty pay system intended to compensate adjunct faculty with more experience. New adjunct faculty members would fall into the tier one category.

To qualify for tier two, which comes with 5% higher pay per credit hour, adjunct faculty must have taught five terms or 30 credit hours within the last three years and completed nine hours of professional development.

Right now, adjunct faculty, no matter their experience, make $870 per credit hour, but the college will raise the base level pay to $900 per credit hour for all adjunct faculty. Those who qualify for tier two compensation will make $945 per credit hour.

These changes will go into effect on July 2, 2022.

Kathryn Palmer covers higher education for the Arizona Daily Star. Contact her via e-mail at or her new phone number, 520-496-9010.

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