State Senate salary increase bill sparks concern from Cal State University system

The Cal State University system says it could be forced to raise tuition and cut other resources, if the governor signs a new bill increasing salaries for nonteaching staff.

The current budget estimates that more than $1 billion will be needed to fund wage increases over the next decade.

Governor Newsom has said he intends to provide $1 billion in funding to colleges in the state of California. Still, University officials say the money hasn’t been secured and they’re worried about how they’ll pay for any pay raises.

The California Legislature recently approved Senate Bill 410, requiring Cal State University or CSU to implement a nine-step merit-based compensation system for its non-academic employees.

“I wish they were paid more, but I also don’t want to see programs cut at the same time,” said Miguel Nives, a film student at San Jose State University.

If the bill is signed by Governor Newsom, CSU officials say they will have to raise tuition and cut courses and other resources. The CSU released a statement saying it supports paying all employees fairly and at market rates, but also said, in part:

“The recommendations of a recent independent study align with CSU’s core values, but SB 410 imposes a significant cost on the university without a source of funding…” – Toni Molle, Cal State Univ. Chancellor’s Office

Based on the current budget, the CSU system will need $1.3 billion over the next 10 years to pay for the 5% wage increases proposed in the state funding plan. CSU Board Administrator Jack Mc Grory spoke publicly about SB 410 last week.

“SB 410 is not the answer. It’s an unfunded mandate and we’re going to have to go to these presidents and say, cut $287 million from your budget to run 410. This is madness” , said McGrory.

A student from San Jose State agrees that paying for college is hard enough.

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“You look at it. Well, we can just raise tuition for students, but that comes right back to the student debt problem,” said SJSU student Dynique Thompson.

State Senator Connie Leyva sponsored SB 410 and says CSU has been without a pay scale for more than 25 years and staff are among the lowest-paid university employees.

Governor Newsom has until the end of this month to sign the bill.

Norman D. Briggs