Cuesta Foundation to help pay college staffers’ salaries

A small group of Cuesta College employees will get a slight reprieve from the salary cuts handed down by trustees earlier this year.

The Cuesta College Foundation, the nonprofit fundraising arm of the college, has agreed to pay 3.5 percent of the salaries of nine staff members in the college’s Institutional Advancement Department for the current fiscal year.

The foundation will also pay for half the salary of the coordinator for Institutional Advancement Support — a position funded by the college in the past.

In May, those employees and about 34 other nonteaching employees were reduced from 12 months a year to 11 months, equaling an 8.3 percent pay cut.

The new agreement between the foundation and the college equals about $55,000 for the current fiscal year.

The Cuesta College Board of Trustees voted 4-1 in support of the agreement Wednesday. Trustee Charlotte Alexander dissented.

The employees, whose duties range from graphic design to marketing and media outreach, will gain an additional nine days of work under the agreement. The prior budget cut eliminated the equivalent of 21 working days from their schedules.

The employees receiving the reprieve often work in partnership with the foundation in its fundraising efforts.

It is uncommon for the foundation to pay employee salaries other than its own. The nonprofit typically contributes funds toward building projects, sabbaticals for teaching staff and needed equipment in classrooms.

The agreement was reached after the college sought the foundation’s help in paying for half the salary of the coordinator for Institutional Advancement Support, said Barbara George, interim executive director of the foundation.

“The cuts may have essentially limited our ability to raise private gift support for the college because the foundation relies on support services and staff,” said Stephan Gunsaulus, the college’s marketing and communications director. “And now more than ever the college needs the foundation to raise additional funds.”

In May, Cuesta’s trustees approved $2.9 million in budget cuts for the fiscal year — impacting the jobs of about 120 employees.

Cuesta College officials are also warning that possible midyear state budget cuts could leave the community college short about $500,000 to $750,000 in operational funding this year. Cuesta President Gil Stork has said that if midyear budget cuts occur, the college could face cost-cutting measures including up to 15 additional layoffs as well as furloughs.

Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939. Stay updated by following @a_cornejo on Twitter.