Eye On Boise

Bayer: Maybe cut faculty salaries?

Mike Rush, executive director of the Idaho State Board of Education, responds to questions from lawmakers at a budget hearing, at which one representative asked if the state should cut faculty salaries to make college more affordable, 1/27/09 (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)
Mike Rush, executive director of the Idaho State Board of Education, responds to questions from lawmakers at a budget hearing, at which one representative asked if the state should cut faculty salaries to make college more affordable, 1/27/09 (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Rep. Cliff Bayer, R-Boise, just asked Mike Rush, director of the Office of the State  Board of Education, if perhaps faculty salaries were a place to cut at universities. "Do you sense any flexibility or any interest in addressing, if push comes to shove, faculty salaries ... to maintain some affordability?" Bayer asked. Rush, who is making his budget presentation to JFAC, responded, "Rep. Bayer, that's an awful question." He said, "In my opinion, absolutely everything is on the table. I don't think we've seen the bottom yet. I don't think we can take anything off the table until we know the scope of the problem." Other states have had furloughs, Rush noted, which is a form of cutting pay to faculty and other employees. But, he said, those states are much worse off than Idaho is at this point. "Frankly, I've been pretty impressed by our institutions, at their aggressive approach in cutting costs," Rush told JFAC. "I don't think you can argue that Idaho pays their faculty all that well - salaries are low. ... It takes a long time to build up a qualified faculty base, and that expertise is the center of what makes our universities what they are."




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