A recent pay raise to Steve Kinsella, president of , amounting to an additional $42,000 a year for the next four years, isn't sitting well with some Gilroyans.
Although the increase, which includes monies set aside in a deferred compensation account, was approved twice by a 6-1 vote of Gavilan's Board of Trustees, board member Domingo Payne said the decision sends the wrong message to the public.
"The current economic problems we are having in California has led to many people taking pay cuts or losing their jobs," Payne said. "Student fees have been and are being raised to the point of many students leaving college in tremendous debt or opting not to attend at all."
The timing of the trustees was poor, Payne continued, and shows the board is either out of touch or doesn't care about its public perception.
While he's a fan of Kinsella, Payne said eventually the board should consider hiring another capable candidate "instead of introducing a decision that struck the public as not well thought out."
"At the least, the trustees could have proposed a raise with a different structure and amount," he said. "It did not appear there was much negotiation to retain him at a more reasonable salary increase or appreciation for what students and the rest of society is dealing with in these tough times."
According to Jan Bernstein Chargin, a Gavilan spokeswoman, Kinsella saw a pay bump of $21,000 January 1, bringing his base salary from $234,090 to $255,090. The other $21,000 due to him will go into the deferred compensation account.
Through another series of deferred payments, Kinsella stands to make $276,090 by January 1, 2015. If he stays with the college until December 31, 2015, he’ll receive a lump sum of $31,500 from the deferred account.
Including benefits and payments to his pension, Kinsella now makes an adjusted gross income of $308,080. .
A public employee salary database maintained by the Bay Area News Group shows that in 2011, the president of De Anza College in Cupertino took home an adjusted gross income of $305,244 while Kinsella made an adjusted gross income of $264,575. The president of Foothill College in Los Altos Hills brought in $286,818 in adjusted income that same year.
Bradley Davis, interim president of West Valley College in Saratoga, stated in an email he is set to earn a base salary of $180,000. The president of Mission College in Santa Clara, he said, will make $186,000.
Payne’s criticism comes at a time when the GUSD is facing serious . The district stands to lose $8.1 million from its budget if during the November election.
According to Rebecca Wright, assistant superintendent of business services, while no GUSD teachers were handed pink slips for the upcoming 2012-2013 school year thanks to attrition and incentivized retirements, the district has cut jobs in recent years.
"We laid off about 30-35 teachers [every year for] several years in a row prior to this current year," she said.
Many of those teachers, she added, were subsequently rehired as others left the district.
Currently, the average GUSD classroom teacher salary, Wright said, is $61,923.