Schulz requests pay raise for staff

Presidents of Washington universities look for four percent increase in salary



WSU President Kirk Schulz listens and responds to questions and concerns posed by the ASWSU senate Oct 31.

CHERYL AARNIO, Evergreen reporter

WSU President Kirk Schulz and other presidents of public universities in Washington sent a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee asking for a pay raise for faculty and staff.

Schulz said pay raises will come from funding provided by the state. Every two years, the university asks for a certain percentage of salary increases from the legislator’s office.

For the upcoming state budget, WSU asked for a four percent increase for this year and another four percent increase next year, he said.

This is to cover cost of living and to make wages competitive, said Colleen Kerr, vice president for external affairs and government relations.

Schulz said WSU faculty and staff are not paid as well as those of some of the universities it competes with. It would be easier to keep faculty and staff in their position at WSU if they had a pay raise, he said.

In the last state budget, the university received less than what they asked for, Schulz said. They were given a one percent wage increase each year for faculty and a two percent wage increase each year for classified staff.

“As the governor is preparing his budget, we just felt it was important to take a strong stand that our faculty and staff deserve higher wages,” he said.

Kerr said if the four percent wage increase is not completely funded by the state, they do not plan to take money from other university income sources like tuition revenue.

“There’s no other money for it,” she said.

Schulz said Inslee will propose his budget to the legislature, and once the legislative session is over, the state budget will be determined. It is typically comprised of both the governor’s and the legislative’s budget proposals.

Kerr said once the legislature goes into session on Jan. 14, WSU will continue to advocate for the pay raises until early April. At that point, the budget is negotiated between the House, Senate and governor’s office.

She said they will not know if they receive the pay raise until April 28.

Schulz said for the last six months, WSU has been advocating for certain priorities, one of which is the pay raises. Some of the lobbying is done by the government relations staff, Schulz or students who travel to Olympia.