Survey Explanations

Spring 2011 Salary and Benefits Survey

Contract Faculty

Soon, you should be receiving an email with your personal link to Zoomerang that will allow you to complete the annual AFA Membership Survey.

Following are brief explanations about the 19 questions that AFA is asking in the Spring 2011 Negotiations Survey in order to solicit faculty opinions on benefits, ongoing negotiation topics, and future retirement plans. Your responses will help AFA establish issues and priorities for negotiations in the next three to five years.

Please complete the survey by 12 noon, Monday, May 23. If you feel that you do not have an adequate understanding of an issue to answer a question with confidence, feel free to leave it blank. At the end of the questions, a place is provided for written comments.

Survey results will be posted on the AFA Web site shortly after the deadline. Thanks for participating!

Benefits (Survey Questions #5-10)

A. Medical. Over the last decade, the costs of SRJC medical benefit group plans have risen much faster than the increases in the District revenue. The matter has become even more problematic now that District revenue from the State is decreasing. A major topic of negotiations each year is how to cover that gap in medical benefit expenditures. Either the cost must be reduced by changes to the plans, or ongoing revenue must be redirected from other sources such as salary. More information about benefits can be found in Article 10 at http://www.santarosa.edu/afa/Contract/MOU/mou_10_benefits.pdf.

B. Dental. AFA and the District are also reviewing the SRJC dental plan for contract faculty. Presently, no orthodontia is included in that plan, and periodically faculty ask about this benefit. Adding this feature to the plan would increase the cost of the plan and, most likely would mean a redirection from all faculty salaries to cover that cost.

Another common concern for contract faculty members is the dental plan's coverage for fillings. For those teeth that are not readily visible (like back molars), fillings are covered at the cost of amalgam only. Fillings in the front teeth are covered at the cost of composite fillings. Most dentists do not recommend using amalgam any more, so often fillings may require a significant out-of-pocket expense for the faculty member. Moving to an "all composite" plan would increase the cost of the plan and, most likely would mean a redirection from all faculty salaries to cover that cost.

Negotiations and Budget (Survey Questions #11-15)

A. Contract faculty retirements. Coinciding with the current budget crisis is the prospect of an unprecedented number of contract faculty retirements. The District does not intend to fill all of these openings, but rather is planning to backfill some openings with hourly assignments. AFA believes the actual cost avoidance in this type of backfilling is approximately $60,000 per FTEF.

B. Management openings. The District anticipates openings in management positions as well, including dean-level positions such as the Dean of Student Services in Petaluma and the EOPS Director. Not filling these positions would avoid costs of roughly $150,000 per year per position.

C. Faculty "efficiency." One of the byproducts of the class schedule reduction is that the ratio of FTES/FTEF has increased from approximately 16 to approximately 19. In a typical lecture class, this increase translates to moving from 32 students to 38 students. The District refers to this change as an "efficiency increase." Obviously, this increase in FTES/FTEF causes faculty workloads to increase as well, and therefore "efficiency" is a topic of discussion when salaries are negotiated.

D. Sabbatical Leaves. After a two-year postponement, faculty scheduled to go on sabbatical in 2009-10 have been approved by the Board to commence their sabbatical leaves in 2011-12. Leaves in 2010-11 and 2011-12 were canceled as a cost savings measure. Currently, leaves for 2012-13 are moving through the approval process. The cost for one academic year (approximately 14 one-semester leaves) is $340,000. The District also is investigating the possibility of basing the award of sabbatical leaves primarily on the merit of the proposal instead of primarily on seniority. If that change were to be implemented, it would be possible for a less-senior faculty member to be awarded a leave instead of a more-senior faculty member.

Retirement (Survey Questions #16-19)

There are currently two different options available for contract faculty contemplating retirement: the Early Retirement Option and the CalSTRS Reduced Workload Program. (See Article 24: Retirement http://www.santarosa.edu/afa/Contract/Articles/art24.pdf and the AFA Update explaining the difference between the ERO and the CalSTRS Reduced Workload program at http://www.santarosa.edu/afa/1011/Publications/Update/update_100923.Ret.pdf.) The current contractual agreement requires that regular faculty who wish to exercise the ERO must be 55 years old with fifteen (15) years of service to the District. Several years ago, the District proposed modifying the ERO by changing the requirements from age 55 to age 60, and increasing the number of years of service from fifteen (15) to twenty (20). They further offered to create a three-year window so that faculty members who were planning for retirement could adequately plan for the change in these requirements. This change was NOT negotiated at that time. Every two years the District pays for an actuarial study of this program (the study is required by law), so they will be reexamining the program after the next study. To help AFA be ready at that time, AFA is asking for information regarding your retirement planning.

 
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