Suffolk Community College faculty pact's cost put at $2 million

A lawsuit suit filed in state Supreme Court

A lawsuit suit filed in state Supreme Court claims that Suffolk County Community College and its top officials have misspent hundreds of thousands of dollars from a mandatory student activity fee that produces a nearly $4 million a year. Photo Credit: Heather Walsh

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Suffolk County Community College officials said Tuesday their new four-year contract with faculty has a net cost of $2 million, although legislative budget analysts put the cost higher.

The education committee of the Suffolk County Legislature unanimously approved the new agreement for the 479 full-time faculty members and 1,600 adjuncts. The pact still needs to be voted on by the full legislature.

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Gail Vizzini, SCCC's financial vice president, said the new contract will increase spending for full-time and part-time faculty by $7 million. She said $5 million of the cost will be offset by union concessions.

The givebacks include a permanent extension of an existing contract provision, due to expire Sept. 1, that permits the college to increase average class size from 35 to 37 students, for $750,000 in annual savings. The union also agreed to permit a paperless payroll system that will save the college $500,000 a year.

Legislative budget analyst Benny Pernice said the class size provision does not save money but merely protects the college from having to add money to next year's budget. Registering the $750,000 as a savings amounts to "double counting," Pernice said, an evaluation that Vizzini disputed.

The agreement, which takes effect Sept. 1, 2015, will provide a 1.5 percent raise in February 2016, 2 percent in February of 2017 and 2018 and 2.5 percent in February, 2019. It freezes starting pay for first-year faculty at $52,701 a year for the life of the contract.

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Salaries of top-paid faculty will rise from $114,285 to $123,700 by the end of the contract, said Kevin Peterman, union president.

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