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Salary raises, new budgeting model coming later this year

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Washington State University employees will be receiving at least a 2.5% raise next fiscal year.

Classified staff are receiving a 3.25% increase effective July 1, and employees in bargaining units will receive increases in accordance with applicable bargaining agreements. This funding is entirely provided by the Washington Legislature for employees paid from state funds. Faculty, administrative professionals and graduate assistants will receive a 2.5% salary increase effective September 1. University funds will need to be used to supplement state funding in order to give this group the largest increase in seven years.

WSU’s Budget Office and Human Resource Services are developing a frequently asked questions resource on the compensation increases that will be available online.

 “Our employees have been instrumental in helping the university navigate the challenges posed by the pandemic and deserve additional compensation in addition to our heartfelt thanks for their hard work,” WSU System President Kirk Schulz said.

WSU employs more than 8,200 employees across five physical campuses, WSU Global, and extension centers across the state. Schulz discussed the salary increases as well as the university’s success in lobbying the state legislature to increase its portion of funding  for raises in his State of the University address last month. He also noted ongoing efforts to address staff fatigue as well as hiring and retaining diverse faculty.

Employee compensation will remain the university’s top priority in the next legislative session.

New budget model for WSU system

This year WSU is also implementing a new, more transparent and data-informed budget model that will run parallel to the current process.

The process for fiscal year 2023 budget development will look similar to the current year, and the majority of core fund allocations will be loaded to Workday by the end of July. Core fund allocations will be determined in the same way as previous years, though changes to the allocations process may come with fiscal year 2024.

“For the new budget model, we will calculate the differences in legacy allocations and those per the model and then review and discuss these impacts throughout the fiscal year,” Stacy Pearson, chief financial officer and vice president for finance and administration, said.

The new budget model was developed by the Executive Budget Council (EBC), co-chaired by Vice President Pearson and Provost Elizabeth Chilton. The EBC aimed to create a budgeting framework that provides greater clarity in how funds are allocated and how costs are assessed in pursuit of achieving the system’s strategic goals and priorities. Three listening and feedback sessions on the new model are taking place next week:

In response to the fiscal challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the university asked units and departments to make significant core fund reductions since 2021. For the 2023 fiscal year, WSU is asking units and departments to plan for a 5% core fund budget reduction, an improvement from the current year’s 7.5% cut.

Half of this upcoming budget year’s reduction will be made permanent to supplement state funding of the forthcoming salary increases as well as generate $1 million for faculty equity adjustments and funds for faculty opportunity hiring. The university will continue to address pay equity in its annual compensation planning moving forward.

The Provost’s Office will be developing a long-term process for evaluating and addressing faculty salary equity and will be seeking broad input on that process in the coming months. The university will also use one-time funds to address strategic initiatives and faculty start-up programs. Additional details about these efforts and the available funding will be available in the months to come.

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