On May 16th, two years of tense contract negotiations came to an end as the California State University and California Faculty Association agreed to a new contract. In effect from now through 2011, the new contract ensures an across-the-board pay raise of about 3 percent for lecturers, full time faculty and administrative staff.
With the contract agreement made, the next step is finding the money to pay for it.
Money comes into the campus from two sources: the Compact, which is a contract between the CSU and the State, which is renegotiated every spring. Each semester, additional revenue is collected from student tuition, campus stores and various fees.
With the new fiscal year, the Compact has secured an additional 16 percent in funding from the state. With the new CFA contract, the CSU salary budget has grown by 26 percent, according to a June 4 bulletin posted by Provost Harry Hellenbrand. This has left an 11 percent gap between funding and expenses that needs to be closed.
The new CFA contract includes revisions to the General Salary Increase and Service Salary Increase — the two pay schedules that determine how raises are doled out.
The GSI is a standard pay scale for all staff, with raises based on the length of time employed by the CSU. The SSI pay scale applies to lecturers and professors and functions as a “time counter,” according to Hellenbrand. Full-time professors and part-time lecturers ascend the pay scale at different rates; raises are awarded based on the number of semester units taught.
CSUN Sociology professor and outgoing CFA president James David Ballard recognizes that neither pay scale is realistic. The GSI barely covers the cost of living and for established professors, and the SSI pay scale has become largely irrelevant. “Some professors haven’t seen anything [other than cost-of-living increase] for 15 years.”
Hellenbrand also agrees that the pay schedules needed to be updated, noting that the cap on the [SSI] pay scale is “foolish.”
To address this shortcoming, the CFA and CSU agreed to the creation of a Post-Promotion Increase — a merit-based salary pool for tenured professors who have reached the top of the SSI pay scale and are overdue for a raise, according to Ballard.
While the mechanics of the PPI system are still being worked on, the concept ratified in the new contract calls for the CSU to make $7 million available each year for the PPI program from 2008 through 2010. During this time, the post-tenure review process will award raises to qualified faculty nominees and applicants ranging from two and one-half to three and one-half percent.
While the CSU is not obligated to award all of the PPI cash, the remaining funds will be distributed to all staff members through the GSI pay scale once the PPI program has finished in June 2010.
And while agreement on the contract has been reached, the tension between the CFA and CSU has shifted to how the $40 million gap will be closed.
According to the CFA, the CSU may already have the assets available to cover at least part of the funding gap. The CFA has reiterated the importance that the CSU take careful stock of its available funds before asking students to close the gap. “It’s unfortunate that they’re still placing the burden on students, ” said Ballard.
Hellenbrand agrees that it is fair for the CFA to expect the CSU to operate efficiently and keep track of operating revenue. But at the same time, he is reticent to believe in the CFA’s accountancy. “If there was a surplus to be found, the state would [apply it to other projects].” The CSU applied for an additional $42 million in funding from the state as compensation for exceeding the enrollment goals included in the current Compact; the application was denied.
With additional funding from the state unlikely, the CSU Board of Trustees has already voted for a 10 percent student fee hike for the fall semester, which will become official on July 1. Should this new fee hike go into effect, student fees will have increased by 94 percent since 2002.