Published Aug. 31, 2013
By Kristi Pihl, Herald staff writer
Columbia Basin College’s full-time faculty and nonunion
employees are getting their first wage increase in five years starting
The 3 percent increase, affecting about 170 CBC workers,
was made possible because of funds the state Legislature added back to
the school’s budget after requiring salary cuts last year.
chose to meet salary cut requirements for faculty and nonunion staff by
eliminating vacant positions and other cost-saving measures, said Rich
Cummins, president of the Pasco college.
Classified employees did experience a pay cut, but their pay was recently restored, he said.
annual starting salaries full-time CBC faculty make have remained at
$45,000 and $48,000, depending on experience and program since 2007, he
Cummins’ annual base salary has remained at $195,000, the same since he reached the third year of his first contract in 2011.
voters approved an automatic cost-of-living adjustment for community
college teachers in 2000, that initiative has been voided by the state
Legislature for budget reasons, Cummins said. There also has been no
funding for promotion raises.
Similarly, a wage freeze has been in
effect at Washington State University Tri-Cities for faculty and
professional staff since 2008 because of state budget cuts, said
spokeswoman Melissa O’Neil Perdue. That means no change to base salaries
and no raises for current employees.
Current WSU Tri-Cities staff
have taken on extra responsibilities as enrollment has continued to
grow since freshmen were first admitted in fall 2007, Perdue said. There
have been some strategic hires to support the growth.
has been no change by the state Legislature, WSU President Elson Floyd
wrote in a July memo that the university plans to self-fund a 4 percent
increase for faculty and administrative staff starting Jan. 1, 2014.
common misconception is that college employees get state pensions,
Cummins said. In reality, few do. Only six CBC employees have worked at
the college long enough — more than 35 years — to be in on the state’s
old pension system.
Everyone else has the public equivalent of a 401(k), he said.
has downsized in the past five years, Cummins said. Remaining faculty
have taken on larger class sizes and taught more courses.
same time, enrollment has grown and bachelor’s programs have been added,
making CBC the state’s 12th-largest community college, he said.
year, CBC will be able to hire some staff to replace recent retirees
and add new positions made necessary by growth, Cummins said.
employees have all pitched in to make sure the college meets its
mission by offering what is best for students and educating as many
Tri-Citians as possible, he said.
CBC’s employees do not get the remuneration they could if they worked for a private college, Cummins said.
But, “You know the truism, you don’t go into education for the money,” he said.
Published with permission of the Tri-City Herald. Additional news stories can be accessed online at the Tri-City Herald.
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