Thursday, March 6, 2008

Faculty converge upon Capitol Hill

A group of nearly 50 ISEA faculty members took part in a special Lobby Day this week devoted to community college issues. Following briefings by ISEA lobbyists and advocacy training led by member Bradley Dyke of the Des Moines Area Community College, the faculty converged on the statehouse for talks with legislators.

Meanwhile, lawmakers are only in the beginning stages of developing the massive education appropriations bill which includes general aid for community colleges as well as what ISEA hopes will be a significant commitment to raising faculty salaries to 25th in the nation. Movement of the bill, which is typically one of the last to be considered in the session, has stalled while legislative leaders spar over budget requests that exceed state revenue.

Gov. Chet Culver has proposed an increase of only $5.5 million for the colleges. But since the $2 million appropriated last year to begin raising faculty salaries to 25th in the nation must be rolled into general aid, the actual budget increase is only $3.5 million. That’s far below what the ISEA is fighting for: A $12.9 million increase in general aid and an additional $8 million over the next two years to bring faculty salaries up to 25th in the nation. Click here to read all the ISEA community college legislative initiatives for 2008.