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This blog site will feature essays, columns and musings that deal with the intersection of Christianity and journalism and the American Songbook.

Pay increases for CWU (letter: Ellensburg Daily Record)

Ellensburg Daily Record
July 30, 1986

The purpose of this letter is to alert the local business community to the plight of Central Washington University in the national-international marketplace for faculty members. Unlike most of our firms, Central competes for its people in a national arena, getting its faculty and administrators from around the country, even the world.

In order to continue its outstanding climb in prestige, to say nothing of its numerical growth, it must maintain a competitive salary schedule. The State of Washington, through our legislature, has refused to do this.

At its June meeting, the CWU Board of Trustees enthusiastically and unanimously voted to urge the State legislature to do the right thing and bring our faculty pay scale into line with their peer faculties located around the country. In order to do this, we need a whopping 18% pay raise in 1987-1988 and another 6% pay raise in 1988-1989! And that only makes us equal! Additionally, we need to continue to offer competitive salaries in the years after that.

We in business need to consider the following factors relating to Central:
We continue to lose outstanding faculty members to other schools for lack of comparable salaries, and we continue to fail to attract choice new replacement faculty due to a poor salary schedule.

The Washington Roundtable issued a report earlier this month calling for an increase in faculty salaries at all state universities. The report points out how far Central has fallen behind its peer institutions. It has been noted that this report is somewhat historic in that the Roundtable is comprised of marketplace leaders not usually associated with being advocates of increased higher education funding. However, this group is now saying it is time to be competitive in state faculty salaries. Our own business community in Ellensburg can do no less than support the same measures for our local university.

The 18% and the 6% over the next biennium would gen¬erate approximately $6,600,000 in increased salaries for our faculty! That is direct increases, without the turnover factor of 3-4 times taken into account! Where can we get a business to move into our city with that kind of disposable income in that time period? It makes tremendous economic sense for us to join forces with the Board of Trustees, the Washington Roundtable and the CWU faculty to push for this long needed, and now critical, pay increase.

Timing is crucial in this election year, and our support could be vital in helping area legislators understand the importance of this issue to our community. We in business should make it mandatory that in order to get our vote, our money or our campaign effort any prospective legislator be solidly behind this equitable salary increase for our fellow residents.

It is long past due that we in Ellensburg make strong advocacy of Central the litmus test for election to state office from this county.

(Editor’s note: Mr. Case is a member of the CWU Board Trustees.)

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