A major challenge for the U of I and for all of Idaho’s college and universities, interim U of I President Don Burnett told lawmakers, is the need to replace nearly 14 percent of its workforce every year, and to do so in a competitive environment. For the U of I, there’s competition just seven miles away across the Washington state line at WSU in Pullman. He urged lawmakers to fund raises for state employees next year, including university faculty.
“Idaho’s higher education institutions ask for your help in fiscal year 2015,” Burnett said. “We want to keep Idaho-developed expertise in Idaho. We want to maintain continuity and quality in our work,” and to boost the state’s economy. “We respectfully urge consideration of doing so in fiscal 2015.”
“All around us, states are stepping up with compensation for their employees,” he said. “It’s important to maintain a consistent structure of fair compensation.”
The governor’s proposed budget for Idaho’s colleges and universities for next year calls for a 6.2 percent increase in state general funds, but doesn’t provide any funding for raises. A joint legislative panel, however, has recommended funding for raises averaging 2 percent, with half permanent and half as a one-time bonus.
“It’s what determines the quality of our institution,” Burnett said. “We’ve been losing key faculty and key personnel because of salary differences.”