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Pay raises for community college adjuncts moves ahead in Colorado Legislature

The Coloradoan

Front Range Community College president Andy Dorsey

A bill calling for benefits and pay increases for part-time community college faculty passed the first legislative hurdle Monday.

House Bill 1154 won favor among legislators on the House Senate Veterans Affairs Committee who heard stories of adjuncts who teach with broken limbs because they don’t have health insurance, receive food stamps and work several jobs to make ends meet.

Sponsor and Fort Collins Democrat Rep. Randy Fischer said he was “shocked” to learn that adjuncts make roughly a third of what full-time faculty do. While it varies from college to college, he told committee members the average salary for a regular faculty member is $47,900 a year, while adjuncts make about $18,340 annually. Adjuncts pay into Colorado’s PERA but don’t receive additional benefits.

Colorado’s 2011 self-sufficiency standard for an individual is $20,808.

Testimony prompted discussion about why some have made what was once considered a part-time pursuit — for example, professionals who teach one or two evening courses — into a full-time job. One community college president said he wishes he could hire every instructor into full-time positions but that “dollars and cents are scarce.”
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