Past salary increases ‘won’t cover this year’

By Michelle Harris

NORMAL_ Last year’s educational tax paid for Regency faculties’ standard of living increases, but instructors might be scraping by if salary increases are not approved.

The past increases “just won’t cover it this year,” NIU President John La Tourette said.

A decline in the number of professors on Regency payrolls made it easier in the past to find money for raises to keep up with inflation, said Board of Regents Chancellor Roderick Groves.

The board governs NIU, Illinois State University at Normal and Sangamon State University in Springfield.

“The 1990 fiscal year tax surcharge helped salaries, but they are still far below average,” NIU Student Regent Bob Tisch said.

“In 1987, 1988, 1989 NIU experienced huge tuition increases. However, the 1987 and 1988 increases were used to keep the university functioning,” Tisch said. “We were finally able to put some tuition increase money toward salaries in 1989.”

Doug Anderson, Joint University Advisory Committee executive secretary, said, “Last year, the state legislature took an important step for addressing the long-term erosion of faculty and staff salaries.”

Regency faculty received a 6 percent pay increase in FY90, but Groves said, “We would have been a little more generous if the Illinois Board of Higher Education priority list had allowed us more money for salary increases.”

Internal savings were used in 1989 for promotion raises, according to the 1989 BOR annual report. Instructors are awarded a $2,200 raise when promoted to professor and $1,500 raise when boosted to associate professor, according to the report.

These promotion rates are second only to the University of Illinois governing system, as opposed to the Regency system, the report said.

Groves said, “We’re really walking on egg shells with the legislature right now. We have to hope for the best with the IBHE budget.” Illinois Gov. James Thompson will announce his budget March 7.