CBS47 got a heated reaction at Fresno State after news that the board of trustees for the California State University system approved salary increases for three new campus presidents, all of whom will make over $300,000 a year, plus free housing and other perks.
Students and some staff members CBS47 talked to say they're feeling the pressure of California's budget problems while those higher up, are getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Fresno State President Dr. John Welty earns $299,000 a year, along with other perks like housing and car allowances.
Nancy Kobata, president of the staff union at Fresno State said, "Staff have been cut, we've had layoffs, we've had two rounds of layoffs here in Fresno and we're down to the bone."
Kobata says the raises send mixed messages to voters who will vote in November on a proposed tax hike critical to Governor Brown's plan for state funding. "It really sends the wrong message to the public in general that we have all this extra money lying around that we can pay these people these kinds of salaries," said Kobata.
Trustees stress that foundations will raise money separately for the raises and they will not use any money designated for student scholarships or financial aid.
CSU Director of Media Relations Michael Uhlenkamp said, "In order for us to bring in the best and brightness and not only to recruit and retain them, we need to be able to pay them competitive compensations packages."
Dr. John Welty plans to hold a press conference on Wednesday over budget talks.