Faculty and staff should get a 5 percent salary boost, a compensation increase plus an additional salary catch-up, the Joint Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee decided Friday.
The subcommittee broke its past pattern of deferring all salary decisions to the Executive Appropriations Committee, voting to support what was essentially the recommendation made by the State Board of Regents. The Executive Appropriations Committee, however, will have the final say.The subcommittee, on a motion by Sen. Lyle W. Hill-yard, R-Logan, agreed to support a 5 percent salary boost of $14.8 million, $3.8 million to pay for increases in benefits coverage and $10.8 million to help catch up the salaries of faculty and staff to their peers at comparable, out-of-state institutions.
"It may be cut back later, but this committee ought to send a clear message," said Hillyard, who said the colleges and universities are now reaping the problems of inadequate salary funding of the last few years.
The subcommittee's action came after officials of the state's nine colleges and universities detailed stories of faculty and staff leaving Utah for salaries up to 65 percent higher elsewhere.
Commissioner of Higher Education Wm. Rolfe Kerr passed out statistics showing Utah faculty salaries are 19 to 34 percent below their out-of-state peers.
Southern Utah University President Gerald Sherratt told how faculty from his institution and Dixie College are being lured to Nevada, which has increased the higher education budget 35 percent in the last two years, for much higher salaries.
"When Saddam Hussein went into Kuwait, Bush responded. Since Nevada took two (southern Utah) counties, there hasn't been a peep," Sherratt said.