News and Tribune

Education/Schools

June 23, 2014

IU trustees OK 2% raises for faculty, staff

Budget checks in at $3.2 billion

BLOOMINGTON — Indiana University employees will see a small raise and a higher minimum wage as part of the university’s 2014-15 operating budget.

The roughly $3.2 billion budget includes a 2 percent merit increase for faculty and staff, with an extra 1 percent retention incentive pool for faculty, and takes into account the minimum wage increase to $8.25 an hour that the university announced in April.

The IU Board of Trustees approved the operating budget unanimously at its meeting Friday in South Bend.

Ed Vasquez, president of CWA Local 4730, said while support staff are grateful for a raise more generous than other workers receive, it still is “not enough to cope with the rising prices we have faced throughout the year.”

“Our medical expenses for instance, have continued to increase. Our energy bills were rough this winter,” he said.

Vasquez said many staff members see the highly paid administrators and the money spent on building projects, and they hope in the future, the trustees consider at least a 3 percent raise for staff.

IU CFO MaryFrances McCourt said costs to the university for employee benefits will be $25 million less in 2014-15 than they are now. That’s because of a popular high-deductible health plan and changes to retirement plans, said Mark Land, IU spokesman.

However, McCourt said, the largest cost to the general education fund — about 60 percent of the operating budget — is salaries at $881.6 million, which is 46.4 percent of that fund.

Trustees stressed to McCourt the importance of having controls in place to lower costs without eliminating jobs.

Board Chairman Tom Reilly said the university needs those controls now, so trustees can afford renovation projects such as Assembly Hall and Sembower Field.

“That’s not going to happen much longer if we don’t figure out how to finance it,” he said.

IU President Michael McRobbie said controls are in place to make sure deans of various schools know if they can afford new hires.

Although distribution of budget funds has remained fairly stable for several years, the sources of those funds have changed, McCourt said.

Currently, about 66 percent of the general education fund comes from student fees and 27.5 percent from the state, she said. The 1984-85 budget’s general education fund was essentially the opposite: 26 percent student fees and 58 percent from the state, McCourt said.

Vasquez said the union also believes state politicians need to give more money to IU to keep it a high-level university.

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