One of my most dismal memories from the three years that I was a “full-time part-time” philosophy instructor at the Clovis Center (teaching three classes every semester) was the day I handed in my final grades one May. I wanted to celebrate; I had money for the $5.00 coffee drink which would make my joy complete. But the prospect of my final paycheck for the school year left me too emotionally incapacitated to celebrate or even happily fill my gas tank before I headed to the mountains for a hike. My paycheck would be less than $2000 and more than a third of it would go for rent. The news for our part-timers has not gotten any better in the intervening ten years since I indulged in a few hours of self-pity on that sad day in May. If anything, the news has gotten worse.Hourly pay for part-time instructors in the State Center Community College District now ranks near the bottom in the state of California. Out of 72 community college districts in the state,only eight pay part-timers worse than State Center. The first and second-highest paying districts are San Francisco and ElCamino (L.A. County).In the State Center District, a newly hired part-time instructor with an M.A. begins at $50.78 per hour. After nine semesters his or her hourly wage goes up to $52.82. In San Francisco, apart-time instructor with an M.A. begins at $95.83 and goes up to $104.58 after nine semesters. Not only does the SF part-time instructor start at an hourly rate almost twice that of the State Center part-time instructor; the SF instructor sees his or her pay increase by 9.1% after nine semesters compared to a 4%increase for SCCCD part-timers. In the El Camino Community College District (which, like San Francisco, is a single-college district), part-time instructors with an M.A. begin at $87.55 per hour and earn $101.88 after nine semesters, a 16.4% increase compared to State Center’s 4% increase after nine semesters.Gross monthly-income figures make the contrast even starker.An instructor at San Francisco City College with nine semesters of experience teaching three three-unit classes grosses $4047 per month; at El Camino College, $3943 per month. For State Center, the figure is $2044 per month.No one should think that cost-of-living differences in the respective regions of California justify these wage disparities.In Fresno, median gross rent (rent plus utilities) was $913 in 2016. El Camino College is located in the unincorporated Alondra Park area of Los Angeles County. Median gross rent in Alondra Park in 2016 was $1046. In other nearby cities: Gardena,$1241; Lawndale, $1409; Hawthorne, $1046; El Segundo,$1723; Manhattan Beach, $2348. In San Francisco in 2016, median gross rent was $1784. (These rent figures come from http://www.city-data.com/.)A part-time instructor in SCCCD who spends $1500 on rent has not much more than $200 left from a take-home pay of around $1700. A part-time instructor in the El Camino or SanFrancisco District who spends $2000 on rent has $1500 left to spend on other necessities and a few non-essentials as well.
Part-time salaries are taken from the 2017-18 salary comparison prepared by the California Federation of Teachers.- Michael Stannard, Editor, Federalist