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College of the Siskiyous Responds to COS Faculty Association News Release Regarding the Fifty Percent Law

College of the Siskiyous Out of Compliance with the Law

College Tries to Extort Faculty and Hide Its Noncompliance

WEED – The College of the Siskiyous (COS) has been out of compliance with the “Fifty Percent Law,” which requires each community college district to spend at least half of its current education expenses on the salaries of classroom instructors—and it has been out of compliance since 2021-22. In December, before the holiday break, the College of the Siskiyous Faculty Association (COSFA) attempted to bargain in good faith to bring the district into compliance with the law, proposing an increase to faculty salaries that was still below the Cost-of-Living Adjustment funding that COS received over the past three years. Instead of negotiating, COS took an inflexible position and rushed to declare an impasse. When COSFA complained that COS was not bargaining in good faith, COS threatened to call off bargaining altogether and pursue unspecified “other options” for compliance that would not involve any payments to faculty. When COSFA refused to let itself be extorted in this way, COS carried out its threat, although it will not reveal how it believes it has brought itself into compliance. This type of gamesmanship frustrates the bargaining process and serves to cover up COS’s lawbreaking.   

“We are incredibly disappointed that the College of the Siskiyous (COS) has engaged in unlawful behavior and has tried to bully our faculty into accepting a one-time payment, rather than complying with the Fifty Percent Law. The deal the college offered doesn’t pay our faculty a fair, living wage,” said COFSA President Kirk Thomsen. “While the cost of living continues to increase in Siskiyou County, salaries have not kept up. COS received more than enough funding from the state to give faculty an increase to their salary, as the state law requires it to do.”

COFSA President Kirk Thomsen

Weed / College of the Siskiyous – Recently the labor union representing the College of the Siskiyous (COS) faculty members made certain public statements in a News Release.  This News Release contains untrue statements.  As the sole public provider of higher education in Siskiyou County, the Siskiyou Joint Community College District provides the following response:

  • Compliance: The District has complied and continues to comply with the state requirement sometimes called the “Fifty Percent Law.” This requirement, found in the state’s Education Code requires each community college district to spend at least half of its current expense of education each fiscal year for salaries and benefits of classroom instruction.  The District was able to accomplish this through faculty salary increases over the last 4 years and a one-time payout to faculty in 2022-2023.  
  • Faculty Compensation: Since July 2020 through June 30 of this year (2024), the Full- time Faculty will have received 15.75% increase to their salary schedules, in addition to annual step increases of 3% (with another 2.25% coming in FY 24-25).  According to the Full-time Faculty Salary Comparison for California Community Colleges, completed by the CFT (A Union of Educators & Classified Professionals) for the 2022-2023 fiscal year, College of the Siskiyous full-time faculty salaries (comparing Step 1, no experience and a Master’s degree) ranked 63 out of 72 Community Colleges.  COS faculty, at this level, are paid higher than full-time faculty employed at the following Community Colleges: Victor Valley, Peralta, Napa Valley, Copper Mountain, Antelope Valley, Los Rios (in Sacramento), Ventura, Solano, and Lake Tahoe.  
  • The Fifty Percent Law Calculations: The Fifty Percent Law not only includes education expenses related to classroom instructors but a number of additional instructional expenses. There is a full list of questions and answers about the Fifty Percent Law available at https://www.cccco.edu/About-Us/Chancellors-Office/Divisions/College-Finance-and-Facilities-Planning/Fiscal-Standards-and-Accountability-Unit/Fifty-Percent-Law.
  • Transparency: The District has consistently been transparent with its challenges in meeting the Fifty Percent law.  The District shared its Fifty Percent Law report updates at monthly Board Meetings and conducted two Town Halls about the Fifty Percent Law in the fall of 2023. 
  • Statewide Issue:  This challenge is not a College of the Siskiyous challenge but a California Community College system issue. The Fifty Percent Law Statewide average was 51.01% in 2021-22, and 41 of the state’s 72 community college districts are below that State average. 
  • Discussion Processes: As we ended the 2022-23 year, the District found that it did not comply with the 50% law and sought to remedy the situation by offering to make a one-time, off-schedule payment to the College of the Siskiyous Faculty Association (COSFA). The District approached COSFA to discuss the effects of this payment.  During the discussions, the District made and considered several proposals and counter proposals. However, we were unable to come to an agreement.  This was due primarily to the fact that all of the counter-proposals offered by the COSFA included long-term financial obligations to the District. Per the comments made in the COSFA News Release and these discussion proceedings, it is clear that the COSFA was aware of the fifty percent challenge, which is counter to the COSFA claim of the District attempting to hide compliance.

For information about the College of the Siskiyous visit our website at www.siskiyous.edu or call – Toll free – (888) 397-4339, Weed Campus – (530) 938-5555, Yreka Campus – (530) 841-5550.

Sources: CTA & COS press releases

One Comment

  1. Tyler Ryan Strasser

    so what does this mean for the college it self

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