March/April 2017 Advocate: District spends less than 50% on faculty salaries

District Budget

District is spending less than 50% on faculty salaries;
Shows need for higher salaries and/or more hiring

by Dan Kaplan, AFT 1493 Executive Secretary

Section 84362 of the California Education Code is generally referred to as the “50% law” and requires that community college districts spend 50% of the “current expense of education” on faculty salaries. The recent audit of the District finances concluded that the District has failed to expend 50% of the “current expense of education” for “salaries of classroom instructors” as required by Section 84362.

The purpose of the 50% law is to assure that districts focus on increasing faculty salaries, reduce class size, and rein-in non-instructional costs. The 50% Law is a descendant of a 60% law adopted in 1851, in California’s first legislative session after statehood.  Ever since its adoption, the Legislature has reaffirmed the central purpose of the law by rejecting attempts at repeal. Thus, the District is under a mandatory duty to comply with the law. The problem is that the District has apparently been evading the law.

  • In 2015-16 the District was at 48.38% of the 50% Law.
  • In 2014-15 the District was at 50.21%.
  • In 2013-14 the District was at 50.53%.
  • In 2012-13 the District was at 51.81%.

So every year since 2012-13 the District has been decreasing its 50% obligation. Until 2015-16 when it actually failed to reach the legally required 50% goal.

The intent of the 50% law is to assure that districts do not spend excessively on administrative costs, and focus on paying fair wages to classroom instructors. To meet the 50% standard, our District could increase the percentage of their budget spent on faculty salaries by paying more adequate faculty salaries and/or hiring additional instructors, which could help alleviate the workload issues our faculty face.