Wage bill makes small ripples for PCC

By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO

 

Federal work-study helps many Pima Community College students earn income while balancing their school work. Alex Velarde is one of those students.

After Arizona voters passed Proposition 206 last year, Velarde and other minimum wage workers saw their pay increase from $8.05 to $10 an hour on Jan. 1. The minimum wage will continue to increase in increments, reaching $12 by the year 2020.

Velarde has worked since 2014 as a student assistant on the Help Desk in the Computer Commons at West Campus. He helps students and staff with technical problems involving computers and printers.

He was pleased when Proposition 206 passed. “I thought, ‘Well great, it’s more money,’” he said.

Jose Chavez, a student assistant in the West Campus Learning Center, is also excited about the raise.

“I think it’s better, ‘cause we get paid more,” Chavez said. “They cut my hours a bit though, from 19 to 16 hours.”

Chavez said fewer work hours allow more time for his other obligations.

“With school and everything going on, I don’t complain too much about the hours,” he said.

PCC has 13 job classifications that pay minimum wage. Positions such as courier driver, residential assistance and Help Desk student assistant all saw a 24.2 percent increase in their pay grade.

Other PCC jobs did not see a raise because they already paid well over the previous $8.05 minimum wage.

“The impact has been pretty small,” PCC spokeswoman Libby Howell said in an email. “None of our regular employees were affected, because the lowest hourly wage PCC pays to a regular employee is $13.54.”

College documents say funding sources “will be allocated for appropriate budget adjustments for the remainder of this fiscal year.”

Allocated sources include grant-funded programs. Many personnel expenses will come from the college’s general fund.

The general fund gets revenue from three main sources: property tax levies, tuition and fees, and college equities.

 

Student Assistant Solomon Kebede is part of a small group of Pima Community College employees affected by the new minimum wage bill. Photo by Nicholas Trujillo.

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