There they go again. At their meeting of Feb. 6, the Saddleback College District trustees voted to grant healthy salary increases for 1988-89 to administrators, while some instructional programs are still on a strict diet.
The 4.7% cost of living increase (retroactive to July 1, 1988) probably reflects the actual inflation in this area. But in addition, the trustees voted a $200-per-month car allowance for all “Category 1 vice-presidents.” An outside observer might reasonably conclude from the trustees’ actions that the Saddleback College District budget is plump and will likely remain so (salary adjustments are permanent fixtures in all future budgets).
But in the Saddleback College reading program, the picture painted by the administration is quite different: The reading lab, where students are required to improve their skills as part of their course work, has had to be closed all afternoons and Fridays. The reason: no funds to pay for a lab instructor to help students. It is the same old story in many school districts: plenty of money for management, while funds for direct instruction are lacking. The trustees claim they are only bringing the Saddleback District administrative salaries and perks in line with those of our neighboring colleges. Can we suppose that the reasoning is that if their administrative spending is bloated, ours should also be at least as bloated as theirs?
We certainly have no objection to cost-of-living increases for employees of the district, but the trustees’ priorities are certainly open to question when they grant $200-per-month car allowances to vice presidents who already earn more than the highest paid professor with 30 years of service.