by Kara Patterson for the Post-Crescent, used by permission
Lawrence budgets for salary increasesTrustees reject plan to freeze raises next year
By Kara Patterson Post-Crescent staff writer
APPLETON – Lawrence University trustees have rejected plans to freeze employees’ pay next year, instead approving a $47.8 million operating budget that provides for salary increases of up to 2 percent.
The current budget allows for salary increases of up to 3 percent, but economics professor Marty Finkler said the trustees’ decision should re-energize the university’s 550 employees, 138 of whom are full-time faculty members.
“I think the trustees were wise in modifying their initial stance,” said Finkler, chairman of the university’s faculty committee on governance. “The faculty wants (Lawrence) to have solid financial standing, but obviously a salary freeze is a strong signal that doesn’t help encourage people to do bigger and better things.”
The possibility of a pay freeze for the fiscal year beginning July 1 had been one of many cost-saving options on the drawing board before trustees last Friday formally approved the budget for next fiscal year, according to Lawrence President Richard Warch.
“They (trustees) expressed their confidence in and gratitude to the faculty and staff for the work they do,” Warch said, “and that was part of their decision.”
The university’s capital projects fund, used for maintenance ranging from building repairs to equipment purchases, has been limited to $800,000, down from $1.3 million, Warch said.
He confirmed that this year the university does not plan to attempt projects on the scale of the $15.3 million Hiett Hall student residence, completed in fall 2003.
Lawrence’s 2004-05 operating budget of $47.8 million is up from the current operating budget of $46.8 million, Warch said.
“(The trustees) offered what I think we would view as a very positive move,” Finkler said.