WHY THE 67% CAP SHOULD BE RAISED
REJOINDERS TO COMMON CLAIMS AGAINST AB 897
California is the only state in the country to have a state law preventing part-time faculty from teaching more than 67% of a full-time workload in any one community college district. No other higher education system in California, including the CSU and UC systems, has similar restrictions.
- “AB 897 will enable part-time faculty to be exploited” is a concern often heard from those who are naive to part-time issues. The sad truth is that part-timers are already exploited through poor working conditions, low wages, debarment from tenure and no health benefits. Although this bill falls far short of addressing all of these issues, increasing the cap will help off-set some of the damage, by getting some PT faculty closer to earning a living wage and increasing their presence within a single district.
- AB 897 would NOT affect the tenure process/contract. Tenure is based on contractual hiring in which tenure or full-time permanent status is specifically offered by a district. The person hired under this type of contract has specific requirements to meet, and ultimately requires board approval. AB 897 in no way alters or affects the tenure process any way.
- AB 897 would not affect the current 75/25 legislation. Currently, 75% of all courses offered at a given college are to be reserved for “tenured, permanent” faculty, while 25% are made available to non-tenure-track or non-permanent faculty. The 75/25 law is to ensure that tenured faculty teach the majority of courses. AB 897 in no way alters or affects the current ratio of full-time to part-time faculty dictated by the 75/25 legislation.
- AB 897 would not affect health insurance or other benefits. These benefits are based upon contractual status, or simply put, they are subject to the pre-negotiated terms of each contract. If an employee’s assignment is designated “temporary, non-permanent, or non-tenure-track,” then health care cannot be mandated.
- AB 897 does not cost any money. AB 897 in no way adds financial obligations or burdens to the district or full-time faculty; the cost remains the same to the district, the state and STRS. It does, however, allow students greater access to instructors because more part-time instructors will be able to spend more time on one campus. This would go a long way towards boosting student success.
- AB 897 does not mandate increased workloads for part-timers. Raising the cap would not force part-time faculty to take on a greater load or teach more classes. AB 897 gives districts the flexibility to negotiate with local bargaining units regarding the maximum number of courses/units which a part-timer would be allowed to pursue, given that the courses are already made available by the district(s).
- AB 897 would benefit districts that are struggling to staff classes. This bill grants greater flexibility to districts, especially the smaller ones, and will help their students get the courses they need. The bill would further prevent full-time faculty from having to teach overloads out of necessity, which they may not otherwise want.