Clark College’s incoming president will earn $20,000 a month, a raise for the position.
The office of the president is not the only position at Clark College that will be benefiting from raises this coming school year. Last fall faculty went on strike for higher pay and successfully negotiated a 10% salary increase.
But The new President, Karin Edwards’ first week may not be entirely celebratory. Her first day is scheduled to be June 21, just a little more than a week before 32 full-time employees are scheduled to be laid off if the proposed budget cuts are approved.
The layoffs are a result of a $5.4 million budget shortfall. In May’s budget meeting Bob Williamson, vice president of administrative services, said 86% of the college budget is related to college personnel. He said Layoffs could not be avoided. Clark officials will vote on the proposed budget cuts on June 10.
Edwards’ employment contract was obtained through a public records request and shows her pay is $240,000 a year plus benefits. Her employment will follow Interim President Sandra Fowler-Hill, whose salary was reported by the Columbian to be higher than Knight’s but the same cost to the college because it didn’t include benefits. Knight’s final salary was approximately $220,000 according to Kelly Love spokeswoman for the college.
Jane Jacobson, Clark College’s board chair, sent a comment about Edwards’s pay by email. ‘This salary aligns with other community colleges of similar size in Washington State,” she wrote. “Dr. Edwards is a proven leader who has led a college and understands the demands of the position. She understands the unique issues and challenges of higher ed and community colleges.”
Jacobson did not say exactly what issues she was referring to, but there were plenty of issues at Clark to choose from this year and in years past. In addition to the strike this past fall recently enrollment at Clark dropped and now operations are hampered by the pandemic. But concerns at Clark go beyond the budget. Clark College was in the news prior to Knights retirement for discrimination issues and later the board cited Knight for discriminatory behavior.