At Cal State trustees meeting, money to be hot issue inside and outside

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During their two-day meeting starting Tuesday, California State University trustees are expected to approve a proposal seeking $102.3 million in additional funding from Sacramento for the university system covering the next fiscal year.

The request would add to the $139.4 million already approved by state lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown for the university.

“The extra money will allow the university to broaden enrollment to students,” said Cal State spokeswoman Laurie Weidner. “In fact, it will grow enrollment from 1 percent enrollment growth to 3 percent enrollment growth, which is about 12,600 students.”

Wieder said the extra funding would also cover needs such as modernizing outdated facilities, helping students graduate faster, and salary increases for top administrators and other employees.

As the trustees meet, Cal State faculty from 23 campuses plan a large rally to press for a salary increase beyond what the university is currently willing to give. The faculty is asking for a 5 percent raise while Cal State has offered a 2 percent increase.

Contract negotiations covering faculty members are stalled and union members have authorized a strike if talks fail. 

“We’re seeing public employees across the state, K-12 systems, various community college districts, they’re seeing increases of 5 percent,” said Jennifer Eagan, California Faculty Association president. “And I think their employers are recognizing that since the recession is over they deserve a chance to catch up.”

But Eagan said Cal State's plan to increase the pay of top CSU executives is misguided.

Trustees are set to vote on a proposal to lift the cap on pay for campus presidents. Pay for new presidents had been limited to that paid to their predecessors. Additional compensation up to 10 percent could be added if the money came from campus foundations.

That created inequity among the campus presidents, according to a Cal State staff report. So the proposal would set new pay at about the median salary for presidents of similar institutions, with a 10 percent leeway to be determined by trustees.

The trustees' meeting gets under way at 8 a.m. at the Cal State headquarters in Long Beach. More information on the board agenda is available on the Cal State website.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story reported another figure for the amount in additional state funds sought by Cal State. KPCC regrets the error. 

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