State Senate bill increasing wages raises concern from Cal State University system

The Cal State University system says it may be forced to raise tuition and cut other resources, if the Governor signs a new bill increasing wages for non-faculty staff.  

The current budget estimates that over a billion dollars will be needed to fund the wage increases over the next decade.  

Governor Newsom says he intends to give a billion dollars in funding to Cal State colleges. Still, University officials say that money hasn’t been guaranteed, and they’re concerned about how they’re going to pay for possible wage increases.  

The California legislature recently approved Senate Bill 410, requiring Cal State University or CSU to implement a nine-step, merit-based salary system for its non-faculty staff employees.  

"I would like to see them get paid more, but I also don’t want to see programs get cut at the same time," said Miguel Nives, a San Jose State University Film student.   

If the bill is signed by Governor Newsom, CSU officials say they’ll have to increase tuition, and cut classes and other resources. CSU released a statement saying it supports paying all employees fairly, and at market rates but also said, in part: 

"A recent independent study’s recommendations align with CSU’s core values but SB 410 imposes a significant cost to the university without a funding source..." – Toni Molle, Cal State Univ. Office of the Chancellor 

Based on the current budget, the CSU system will need $1.3 billion over the next 10 years to pay for the 5% wage increases proposed in the state’s funding plan. CSU Board Trustee Jack Mc Grory spoke publicly about SB 410 last week.  

"SB 410 is not the answer. It’s an unfunded mandate and we’re going to have to go to these Presidents and say, cut $287 million out of your budget to make 410 work. That is insanity," Mc Grory said.   

One student at San Jose State agrees that paying for college is already challenging enough. 

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"You're looking at it. Oh well we can just increase the tuition for the students, but then that ties right back into the problem with student loan debt," said Dynique Thompson, a SJSU student.     

State Senator Connie Leyva sponsored SB 410 and says CSU has been without a salary scale for over 25 years and the staff are some of the lowest paid university employees. 

Governor Newsom has until the end of this month to sign the bill.