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Fort Lewis College trustees approve one-time $3,000 pay increase for employees

College says bump in salary will help with increased costs of living in Durango
(Courtesy of Fort Lewis College)

The Fort Lewis College Board of Trustees approved a one-time, one-year base pay increase of $3,000 for faculty and administrative professionals.

The raise will help support FLC faculty and staff members as a result of increased costs of living in Durango. It will take affect for those employed as of March 31.

“We’re just trying to make sure that we have a salary model that accounted for the realities of those who have been impacted most by the rising costs of housing and living in the Durango area,” said FLC spokeswoman Lauren Pope.

The base-building raise is for the 2022-23 fiscal year. It will benefit 375 faculty and administrative professionals. Additionally, about 115 classified employees will receive a 3% annual increase. In total, the college is spending about $1.4 million on the increases.

Pope said FLC has been working hard to put the institution in a position to invest in salary. Faculty and staff salary is something the college discusses every year, but this year it decided to take a different approach, she said.

Pope said the college gave a 3.5% raise to faculty and exempt staff members last year. However, for those on the lower end of the salary spectrum, that does not have same impact when Durango’s cost of living has increased. But when the increase is a specified dollar amount, that makes the proportion more favorable to those with lower salaries.

“For example, if someone has a base salary of $40,000, $3,000 is a 7.5% increase. And for someone who’s making $100,000, it is a 3% increase,” Pope said. “So you can see the proportionality is just having a greater impact on those who are most affected by the issues that we’re seeing in a community like Durango.”

Pope said FLC wants to uphold values that make an impact in employees’ lives, and find ways to benefit their financial situation when it sees an opportunity to.

“Fort Lewis College has had tremendous success because all our faculty and staff have rallied under the most difficult of circumstances,” said Tom Stritikus, president of FLC. “As a result, we wanted to ensure that our process for giving raises lived (up) to this commitment of care for our collective community.”

tbrown@durangoherald

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