AUSTIN (KXAN) — Feeling the pressures of rising costs, employees with Austin Community College are asking the board of trustees for pay raises.

A group of roughly two dozen ACC faculty and staff members attended Monday afternoon’s board meeting, some holding signs calling for a 10% pay increase across the board.

The group, spearheaded by ACC’s American Federation of Teachers, is also asking the minimum wage be raised to $22 per hour, similar to what the Austin City Council tentatively approved for city workers last week.

ACC senior advising specialist Beau Montano was among those asking for help Monday.

“It’s getting really rough down there at the bottom of the totem pole,” Montano told the board during public comment.

Neil Vickers, ACC’s Chief Financial Officer, said pay raises will likely be included in the budget, but maybe not as much as employees are hoping for.

Rather than a 10% increase for all, Vickers said his office is recommending a 5% bump in pay or an extra $5,000, whichever amount is greater for the individual employee.

Vickers also suggests raising the current ACC minimum wage from $15.60 per hour to $18.

He said the proposed increases would cost roughly $16 million dollars. The board is set to make a final decision when it approves its budget on July 12.

“We have to find the money,” Candace Hunter told KXAN.

A recent hire, Hunter trains teachers for ACC and said she is invested in its future.

“My kid attends [ACC], my daughter is attending summer camp. I love ACC” she said. “I will continue to work for ACC but what the means is if I continue to work for ACC, I cannot continue to live in Central Austin. I just can’t.”

According to data from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, community colleges across the state continue to see enrollment numbers below pre-pandemic levels.

Figures showed ACC’s certified fall enrollment of 32,890 students was down 15% from the 38,730 students enrolled in fall of 2019.