Sixteen retirements have been announced this semester, saving the school more than $1 million if they are not replaced.
Retirement benefits the school because people who retire—they are on the higher end of the salary schedule—are generally replaced by those on the lower end, according to Academic Senate President Tom Rosdahl.
The union contracts under the Los Angeles Community College District website have a “preparation salary schedule” where a faculty rates per month is decided on career increments.
“If a person is brand new and they come in with no teaching [experience], they come in at minimum prep,” Rosdahl said. “Minimum prep, which is a master’s degree, would be at $4,760 a month.”
The maximum rate with one career increment at E13 is $9,056 a month.
A faculty salary can be increased over the years by career increments and doctoral differential; when they retire, their pension would be concluded along their achieving salaries.
The accumulation of years as an employee at Pierce and a percentage factor determines the total pension a retiree obtains from their salary.
For instance, if a professor has 25 years of employment, the determining salary is the highest earned in those years. If employment is less then 25 years, however, the average of the last three years is taken.
“If a person retires at 2 percent and have 25 years in, that’s 50 percent of their salary,” Rosdahl said.
Though $1 million sounds like a lot, current faculty are continuously increasing across the column of the salary schedule because their education level is also increasing.
The more years a person spends teaching at Pierce allows them to move a step further on the salary schedule as well. This process is called steps in column increases.
“Steps in column increases for this year I believe will cost the college $800,000,” Rosdahl said.
The idea of replacing retirees with people paid less becomes unsuccessful for the college in the end, because current faculty will continue to add on to their monthly payments.
“Yes, there is a savings, but there isn’t really that big of a savings,” Rosdahl said.
Retirements happen for many reasons but all affect the school and present faculty.
Lead teacher of Child Development Center, Diana Deutsch announced her retirement this semester, leaving the center short one teacher and classroom.
“At this point, instead of five classrooms, there will be four,” said Director of Child Development Center Phyllis Schneider, who has been in the program for seven months. “We will have less children by at least 25.”
Though many teachers can qualify to replace Deutsch’s position, the college is opposed to the idea because it means that someone else would have to be paid full time.
“The college doesn’t want to make a commitment to the salary and that is what is considered a ten-year faculty position,” Schneider said.
Due to budget cuts, Bruce Rowe, an anthropology professor who is also retiring, Rowe doubts his position will be replaced any time soon with a full-time instructor. Hourly instructors can cover the sections of his classes though.
“I don’t know if the retirements are going to affect us [students] more then they should but I think the school needs to hire more teachers to be safe,” said business major Jessica Fox.
Spring 2012 Retirees