A 3 percent pay increase for Jacksonville State University employees will be offset by a 2.25 percent retirement con-tribution increase.
The institution’s board of trustees approved the pay increase at a Monday meeting. The sate passed down the new retirement increase months ago, but both go into effect in October.
“I don’t think it was intentional, but it just happened,” said Teresa Gardner, a JSU professor and president of JSU’s faculty senate. “It was disappointing.”
Next year the state retirement contribution will increase by another .25 percent. The total contribution at that time will be 7.5 percent.
It is unclear exactly how the two changes – the increased contribution and the raise – will balance out.
Just who will see an actual increase in their salary remains unclear. It will vary depending on each employee’s bene-fit package, said Clint Carlson, vice presentment of business and academic affairs.
“It’s almost going to be negligible,” he said.
The overall cost to the university in the first year will be about $1.5 million, according to Carlson. It is being paid for with state appropriations and students’ tuition, which increased by 12.8 percent in April.
JSU President Bill Meehan proposed the raise about a month ago. He said even though the pay increase is coupled with the contribution increase, it’s still a good move for the university’s employees.
“Everything is going up. This helps us say thank you to our faculty and staff,” he said. “Hopefully, the economy will continue to improve so we can do more.”
The raise is the first since the 2007-2008 school year, and at least one board member said he was disappointed that the institution hasn’t been able to afford a pay increase for its employees since then.
“I personally feel it was about two years behind, but we’ve been in some extreme economic conditions,” board member Jim Coxwell said. “I’m really embarrassed that we haven’t been able to do it sooner.”
Still, Gardner said faculty and staff are ultimately going to be pleased to have the financial help, especially given the state of the economy.
“We are very happy to see the 3 percent increase,” Gardner said. “We would like to see it every year.”
Contact staff writer Laura Johnson at 256-235-3544.