TSU leads charge for

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 21, 2000

increased university salaries


Staff Writer

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Jan. 20, 2000 10 PM

Troy State University’s chancellor is fighting for university faculty members to receive higher pay.

Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr. is lobbying the Alabama Legislature to protest the discrepancy between pay for teachers in public kindergarten through 12 schools and university faculty.

A letter Hawkins sent to all legislators points out that public elementary and secondary school salaries in Alabama rank 29th in the nation and 23rd when adjusted for the cost of living and benefits. That compares to the 43rd ranking for university faculty.

"Five years ago, when the push began to improve the salary structure for K through 12 teachers, they ranked 41st in the nation," Hawkins said. "Even this poor ranking for K through 12 in 1994 is better than the 43rd ranking of Alabama’s universities in 1999."

Hawkins said the majority of the state’s college and university presidents are working for changes.

The move "reflects our committment to bring our faculty salaries up to par," said Hawkins, who is serving a two-year term as chairman of the Alabama Council of College and University Presidents.

Recently, Alabama university presidents voted to apply every dollar of appropriations provided for fiscal year 2000-2001 for compensation for faculties and staffs.

The Legislative Fiscal Office Request of universities and two-year colleges for the 2001 fiscal year states, "A continuation of funding equal to the fiscal year 2000 appropriation would result in an effective budget cut due to general inflation of approximately $600,000 or a 1.8 percent budget reduction."

That reduction would force the elimination of non-tenured faculty, administrative support staff or the need to increase tuition and fees. Estimates are that each one-percent reduction in appropriations would result in the elimination of approximately 10 non-tenured faculty and staff members.

A three-percent reduction would result in "further erosion of our physical plant resources since maintenance budgets would be cut," the request states. "This would further increase our deferred maintenance backlog conservatively estimated at a current level of $15 million."

Cuts would also have to be made to technology "Jeopardizing the competitiveness of the System," the budget request states.

The requested 8.24 percent increase over the 1999-2000 appropriation would fund an overall increase in salaries and benefits of 6.16 percent.

TSU’s request states each one percent increase in appropriations would allow the school to give a .75 percent increase in salaries and benefits.

"If TSU is provided with an increase of appropriations equal to 8.24 percent, then the entire increase would go to fund salary and benefits," the school’s request states.

Presidents from the state’s colleges and universities have voiced their concerns during hearings on education funding held this week.