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Trustees must look out for future students

A lot of decisions get put in front of community college trustees. In the decision-tree, some trustees overlook their obligation to one group: future students. Every decision – from staff hiring to program development to borrowing money – either enhances or compromises the College’s future.

Careless decisions like unchecked administrative hiring and unregulated spending genuinely hurt the College. The current administration increased its size by 57 positions between FY2012 and FY2019. That’s an average of 6.3 new hires annually. If each new hire costs $70,000 in salary and benefits, the College would spend $440,000 more in salary costs the first year.

Assuming no raises, the cumulative salary and benefits costs for the additional employees would increase by nearly $4M. If each new administrator made an average of $100,000 in salary and benefits, the total annual cost of the additional hires would be $5.7M. And if they each cost $130,000 in salary and benefits, personnel costs would rise by $7.4M.

Saddling future students with that additional cost isn’t smart. It unnecessarily raises the cost of attendance and doesn’t return commensurate value.

Executives don’t care about future expenses, but Trustees need to consider how much new hires will cost – not only in their first year, but 5, 10 and 15 years into the future. Only by looking at the long-term costs of administrative hiring can the Board see the full extent of the damage.

Photo Credit: Horia Varlan , via Flickr