Raises help Highline stay on even playing field
By Mitchell Roland - Staff Reporter
State employees are in line for a pay raise after the Legislature passed a biennial budget that covers 2019 to 2021.
Before the Legislature passed the budget, faculty at colleges around the sound to make sure that their voice was being heard.
On April 16, faculty from community and technical colleges around the Seattle area rallied and protested for additional funding from the state legislature. Faculty from Highline joined by holding a virtual rally.
At the time of the rallies, the president of the Highline College Education Association Dr. James Peyton said that the rallies were to try and get additional funding for compensation, student aid and infra- structure.
In the budget that was passed by the legislature, state employees received a three per- cent cost of living adjustment statewide. State employees in King County also received an additional five percent cost of living adjustment.
"Overall, I think faculty are seeing the combined five percent and three percent as a recognition of the cost of living increase," he said.
Dr. Peyton said that when he interviews potential new faculty members, there is of- ten shock over how expensive western Washington is.
"They're kind of surprised by how much the cost of living is in our area," he said.
But even with an addition- al five percent raise for King County that the rest of the state doesn't receive, there's not necessarily an advantage when it comes to hiring. Dr. Peyton said that this additional raise "mitigates the negative."
"Without it, the king county pay for technical and community colleges is a disadvantage," he said.
Dr. Peyton said that the raises came too late to provide any impact into hiring for the next school year, but there is hope that next year there may be benefit.
"Maybe next year we might see some advantage," he said.
While the Legislature passed scholarships for low income students, they also approved a tuition increase by up to 2.4 percent at all public universities in the state.
Dr. Peyton said that "there will certainly be some price sensitive folks" that the tuition increase turns away.
"We're hoping that those particularly price sensitive students" are benefitted by scholarships, Dr. Peyton said.
With tuition increases at all public universities in the state, Dr. Peyton said that the tuition increases might cancel each other out.
"It may kind of balance out," he said. "The college will probably have to figure out a way to say what" the benefit of a college education is.