No raises for college presidents



The presidents of south King County’s two community colleges, like their counterparts statewide, aren’t getting raises this year.

The Legislature took the budgetary step in connection with voter-approved Initiative 732, which grants cost-of-living pay increases for public school (grades kindergarten through 12) employees, faculties at community and technical colleges, and non-faculty workers.

Left out of the raises are administrators and some other non-union employees at the colleges. The salary of Priscilla Bell, president of Highline Community College, is staying at $131,250; Green River CC president Rich Rutkowski remains at $135,000.

Bell and Rutkowski are in the middle of the salary range of community college presidents in Washington. As of the 2001-02 school year, the last one for which statistics are avaliable from the state Board for Community and Technical Colleges, the lowest annual wage being paid was $113,000; the highest was $156,000, for the multi-school Seattle and Spokane community college systems.

Lorna Sutton, spokeswoman for the state board, said trustees at individual colleges have the option of granting retention raises –– increases outside the state limit –– but it’s believed that none have.

At their meeting in July, the Highline trustees extended Bell’s contract through June 30, 2005. They also authorized the school to pay up to $2,725 annually for premiums for a long-term disability insurance policy to supplement similar insurance offered by the state Public Employees Benefits Board.

Her original three-year contract was from July 31, 2000 to June 30, 2003.

Bell, who told the trustees at her contract-renewal meeting last July that she enjoys working at Highline, came to the college after five years as president of Fulton-Montgomery Community College in Johnstown, N.Y. Before that, she was a dean at Tacoma Community College and an administrator for the Los Angeles Unified School District in California.

Rutkowski, whose 18 years as president at Green River make him second in seniority statewide among community college presidents, retired in November 2001. He was rehired in January at his previous salary and began a new contact in July. He hasn’t had a raise in two years.

Editor Pat Jenkins can be reached at 925-5565 and

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