Board of Governors budget update: 5% raise pool being considered for all CSU employees

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Editor’s note: This story was updated March 4 to reflect that the 5% pool for faculty and administrative professionals will be entirely merit-based.

Colorado State University leaders are evaluating the feasibility of a 5% merit-based salary increase pool for all faculty and administrative professional staff for the 2023-24 fiscal year, according to a Feb. 2 presentation to the CSU Board of Governors. (State classified employees’ raises are determined by the state, and are expected to be 5%.)

Henry Sobanet, chief financial officer for the CSU System, told the board at its meeting at CSU-Pueblo that CSU officials are continuing to lobby the state legislature on a number of budget fronts, including a higher appropriation to cover state-mandated compensation costs and inflation, as well as funding for phase two of the revitalization of the Clark Building. He said he won’t know how successful those efforts are until later this spring.

Ultimately, decisions on pay and tuition increases will depend on the final budget signed by the governor and approval by the Board of Governors.

Budget shortfall reduced

CSU President Amy Parsons and former Interim President Rick Miranda told the Board of Governors that CSU has made significant progress in reducing a budget shortfall that in October was projected to be as much as $39.7 million in one scenario. Miranda noted that by December, that shortfall in the four possible budget scenarios — based on two possible tuition increases and two potential salary increases — had been reduced to between $9.2 million and $21 million.

Now, he said, CSU officials have settled on a single scenario that would reduce the shortfall to $5.8 million. That proposed scenario includes a 4% tuition increase for undergraduates, a 3% tuition increase for graduate students and a 5% pool for all faculty and staff.

Previous negotiations between the state and Colorado WINS, the union for state classified staff, had secured a 5% raise for classified staff, but several months ago CSU officials were debating whether they would have to provide a lower raise pool of 3% for administrative professional employees.

In addition to the 5% pool, CSU officials plan to dedicate funding to equity adjustments.

“We expect to be able to devote resources to making progress with market competitiveness issues, focusing on our lowest-paid employees and our lowest-paid academic units,” Miranda told SOURCE.

CSU Vice President for University Operations Brendan Hanlon informed the board that the reduced shortfall of $5.8 million was achieved in a variety of ways, including being less fiscally conservative than CSU was during the pandemic and using a percentage of salary savings from vacant positions.

Other action items

In other action at the board’s Feb. 2-3 meetings:

• Representatives from the CSU Office of Engagement and Extension delivered a presentation on a variety of activities, including how the $8.58 million that the board provided for the Rural Initiative in 2021 is being used around the state.

• CSU Athletics Director Joe Parker gave a presentation to the board featuring highlights of the 2021-22 academic year. He said 201 student-athletes earned Mountain West Academic All-Conference recognition for achieving a grade-point average of 3.0 or better while competing in at least 50% of their teams’ varsity contests during the year. Parker added that 161 Rams earned Mountain West Scholar-Athlete awards for achieving a grade-point average of 3.5 or better (while competing in at least one contest), including 12 who earned a 4.0 GPA.