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College District Trustees Vote to Double Their Pay

November 05, 1987|LARRY GORDON | Times Education Writer

The trustees of the Los Angeles Community College District voted Wednesday to double their salaries to $2,000 a month because of what they said are very long work hours, the need to attract new candidates and the system's improved financial condition.

However, shortly afterward, the district business staff presented a report warning that "the district is not operating within a stable fiscal environment" and cutbacks might be needed next year. The report suggested that administrative offices be moved from the downtown 7th Street location to less expensive quarters by 1989.

All six trustees attending Wednesday's meeting approved the pay increase. The seventh, Lindsay Conner, who was on vacation, left a letter saying he opposed the hike because the finances of the nine-campus system are not "secure enough."

Two weeks ago, Trustee Wallace Albertson said she would vote against the increase for the same reason although she thought the trustees deserved $2,000 a month. But on Wednesday, she voted for the raise for unity's sake, she said.

Some students and teachers protested, saying that the extra $84,000 should go for campus health clinics and services for night students. Kevin Stewart, student body treasurer at Valley College, read a rhyme opposing the pay raise. "This motion is like a tender grape, with promises in store. If plucked from the vine before its time, then sour its wine will pour," he recited to the delight of the small audience.

The trustees noted that their pay had not increased in 10 years and that they often work 30 hours or more a week in what are supposed to be part-time jobs. A 1984 state law allows the increase and some trustees said they should be congratulated for waiting three years.

The pay-raise issue had been kicked around for three years but never brought to a vote because of potential political furor during a time of cash shortages and staff layoffs.

"I feel very comfortable voting for this today. I think I earned it long ago, as did my colleagues," said Harold Garvin, the board president.

Meanwhile, the budget report said the outlook for this quarter is good but warned against dipping into reserves and called for the recruiting of more students. It said enrollment, now about 103,000, may face a decline. Funds from the state are based mainly on enrollment.

The report did not mention any alternate sites for the district headquarter offices, but officials said that would be discussed soon.

The district is expected to spend about $190 million this school year, $8.1 million more than its expected revenues. The difference will come from reserves. However, the report warns that expenses may rise to $200 million next year, with $9.7 million more spent than collected. That would exhaust reserves and create a deficit of about $2 million.

Also Wednesday, the trustees ratified a three-year contract with the nearly 900 clerical and technical employees represented by the American Federation of Teachers local. The contract, on which union members will vote this weekend, grants pay raises between 7% and 13% for the first year and possibly more later.

The board also gave similar mid-contract raises to an estimated 600 middle managers and blue-collar workers. Teachers last month also won a 7% pay raise.

Meanwhile, students at East Los Angeles College held a small rally Wednesday, protesting new admission standards that they say will make it more difficult for Latinos to enter the California State University and College system.

Since 1984, Cal State campuses have been increasing the number of courses that incoming students need to have taken in high school or at community colleges. Cal State officials say that high schools have prepared for the change and that minority groups will not be hurt by it.

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