California State University Chancellor Charles B. Reed discussed the recent executive salary increases, next year’s budget and the possibility of more tuition hikes in 2008 with student reporters during a teleconference Thursday afternoon.
Reed tackled the big issue from last week, the CSU Board of Trustees approving an increase in executive compensation, which is retroactive to July 1, 2007.
“If you’re going to have good universities, you need good leadership,” Reed said. “If you’re going to have good universities, you need to compete in a national marketplace.”
Presidents of the 23 CSU campuses received an average salary increase of 11.8 percent, Reed said.
“That doesn’t mean that everybody got 11.8 percent,” Reed said. “Some got more and some got less.”
Many students and faculty members have recently spoken against the increase in executive compensation. Reed said that while they respect other people’s opinions, it still isn’t an easy decision to make.
“What people don’t realize is the reason that we do these market analyses is, for instance, the faculty. We compare faculty positions against faculty positions,” Reed said. “What’s hard is you don’t compare president’s salaries with truck driver’s salaries. You compare banker’s salaries with bankers. You don’t compare banker’s salaries with accountants. You have to compare apples to apples in order to have a fair compensation.”
Reed used California Postsecondary Education Commission data to point out how CSU system salaries have been found to be 46 percent below the market, which is the reasoning for the board’s salary hikes.
Not only is there a salary gap between executives, but there’s also a salary gap between faculty members. CSU faculty members received a 6.2 percent pay increase against a 15 percent gap. Reed said he hopes that by the 2010-11 year, the salary gap for all employees, including faculty members, will be closed.
Last year, the CSU Board of Trustees adopted a five-year plan that would reduce the salary lags for all employee classifications. This is the first year the plan has seen any fiscal action. Reed said the plan does include a 22 percent increase in compensation for faculty members.
Tuition fees are expected to increase another 10 percent in 2008-09, as they did this year. Reed said they’re going to set up the compact, which would “allow the governor and the legislature to buy out that fee increase.” The governor bought out last year’s fee increase, but didn’t do the same this year.
As far as the budget, the CSU is treated well or “better than any other agency in state government,” as the system will receive a 7 percent funding increase in the 2007-08 budget. The budget will allow funds for an additional 10,000 students. Also in the budget is $157 million for compensation in health care costs, money to compensate more math and science teachers, and funding for the nursing program expansion.
Next year, the CSU is going to request for additional money for enrollment. Reed said they would ask for “1 percent for enrollment, which would be almost an additional $40 million.” This additional money is because the CSU campuses have reported that they have met or exceeded their enrollment quotas for this fall semester. Reed said the CSU system could enroll 10,000 more students than expected.
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