There was a conversation between Don Crowley of the local organization WakeUpCall, Payson Campus Dean Harry Swanson and board members Dick Wolfe and Larry Stephenson prior to the start of the Oct. 13 board of governors meeting. The men discussed the pay scale for GCC teachers who taught classes with low student enrollment.
Swanson explained the graduated pay scale as: 5-8, paid for 8; 9-11, paid for 11; 12-15, paid for 15; and 16 or more, actual student count.
When trying to build enrollment, the worst thing is to cancel classes because it sends the wrong message to the students, Stephenson said.
"It would only be appropriate to pay those teachers if the classes were general education classes," Crowley said.
When the meeting was called to order during the public session, Crowley asked if the pay scale was used on all campuses.
"Could you give us some idea of how many classes have you identified where the instructor is going to receive these bonuses?" Crowley asked. "I presume they are at the expense of Gila County taxpayers? Are there any classes that you have canceled for lack of interest as distinct from instructors who were not willing to take the pay levels associated with low enrollment?"
The board will gather the information Crowley requested in preparation of a full discussion at the next meeting.
Stephenson challenged Crowley on his use of the term "bonuses."
"Actually what we have are adjunct instructors willing to work for less than full pay, so it's not a bonus, this is a reduced level of pay that they are willing to accept to teach our students. In general I am supportive of the graduated scale that we have, so we can continue to offer courses that would be canceled if they don't meet the 12- or 15-student minimum."
Crowley responded that he would like to see scrutiny with regard to whether the low-enrollment classes were GE classes or recreational.
Historically this was done when Pima was here as well, said Robert Ashford, acting chairman of the board. He said the practice is done in the interest of the students progressing through their programs, and are all academic classes.
"I also understood it was a way of retaining good instructors who might otherwise not be able to make enough financially," Crowley said.