NIU pay increase ruled out

By Brian Slupski

The 2.5 percent pay increase faculty were expecting from the Illinois Board of Higher Education’s budget recommendation has been eliminated as a result of Gov. Jim Edgar’s budget proposal.

However, faculty will still receive a pay increase in 1994 as a result of internal reallocation by the university, NIU President John La Tourette said Wednesday at the Board of Regents Finance and Facilities committee meeting.

The 2.5 percent raise was part of the IBHE’s budget recommendations to the governor which were announced at the IBHE’s January meeting.

Debra Smitley, IBHE associate director of public affairs, said the IBHE asked for a total funding increase of $100.5 million over 1993’s budget for higher education. She said higher education under Edgar’s budget proposal only would receive an increase of about $37 million.

“In essence, there are insufficient funds for a salary increase,” Smitley said.

In a letter to IBHE Chairman Art Quern, Edgar wrote, “While this budget does not meet your full expectations for funding higher education, it represents the maximum support possible within the limits of available resources.”

Smitley said she thought Edgar did assign higher education a high priority, but that he simply was limited by his available resources.

Edgar’s budget proposal still must get by the Illinois General Assembly, but it is unlikely higher education will receive a larger increase than Edgar has proposed.

The IBHE increase was part of a faculty salary increase package which called for the individual universities to reallocate enough dollars to come up with an additional 2 to 3 percent increase.

La Tourette said NIU faculty will receive a pay increase in 1994 which will result from internal reallocation. However, he said it was unclear how large the increase would be because the reallocation process is ongoing.

The Board of Regents gave clearance to La Tourette earlier this year to give faculty a pay increase of up to 2.5 percent for 1994.

The 1994 raise will come on top of a 2 percent mid-year increase which took effect Feb. 1 this year. The mid-year raise was the result of reallocation by NIU, but it was unrelated to the IBHE’s pay increase package.

He said NIU is prepared to move ahead and identify funds to make the university’s salaries more competitive.

I understand, so that Northern is third in the state in terms of salary level. In fact, it’s (the salary level) something we’ve been very serious about. And I just want to make sure everyone knows that we are committed to this effort,” La Tourette said.

After the meeting La Tourette said the evaporation of the planned IBHE raise had no bearing on the decision to change NIU’s three-year tuition increase plan to a two-year plan.

He said no money generated from the tuition increase would go toward the university faculty pay increase. The increase will be made up entirely of internally reallocated dollars.