Taxpayers forked over $7.2 million in "university transfers" from SDSU to KPBS in 2019.
COVID-19 has finally hit KPBS – the San Diego State University-controlled and funded public broadcasting operation – where it hurts: in the payroll.
Three staff layoffs, along with a fifty percent cut in the hours of another 15 employees effective July 1, per a Union-Tribune January 22 account, triggered campus complaints that the stations had axed workers in favor of a lavish new KPBS headquarters.
General manager Tom Karlo received $257,289 in salary and benefits during 2019.
As noted here December 30, the SDSU affiliate raised $26,225,000 in "gifts and pledges" during fiscal 2019 for its ongoing Capital Campaign, per a November 26, 2019 financial report.
But COVID-19-related cutbacks faced by SDSU – which picks up a significant portion of the stations' costs – may be contributing to KPBS’s budget pinch.
Taxpayers forked over $7.2 million in "university transfers" from SDSU to KPBS during fiscal 2019, the November financial report says, versus $7.1 million the year before.
Under the latest of California's rapidly shifting proposed budget deals, the state university system – including SDSU – and the University of California would suffer more than a billion dollars in budget cuts, aggravating SDSU’s financial woes.
A hoped-for federal bailout under the so-called HEROES Act, might offset the reductions during the current budget period, but the future is uncertain.
"Passage of the HEROES Act will also determine whether UC's and CSU's budgets will be cut significantly," noted EdSource in a June 23 account of the budget negotiations between legislators and Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Nancy Worlie, associate general manager for content and communications, got $142,027.
"Newsom had proposed cutting $1.17 billion in combined cuts and to rescind $770 of that amount through federal funding. The final deal calls for cutting $970 million — $470 million for UC and $500 million for CSU — which would be restored with federal coronavirus assistance."
Other burgeoning SDSU expenses may be putting pressure on KPBS's budget. Just three weeks before KPBS revealed the current round of staff cuts to the public, the university finally sealed an $86.2 million deal with San Diego city hall for the Mission Valley parcel, once known as Qualcomm Stadium.
According to the U-T's account of the new layoffs, a statement from KPBS announced "possible pay cuts of up to 10 percent for senior managers" in the unspecified future.
Based on salary numbers obtained under the state's public records act by TransparentCalifornia.com, compensation for highly paid top jobs was already shrinking.
General manager Tom Karlo, whose state university system title is Administrator IV, received a total of $257,289 in salary and benefits during 2019.
Karlo got $343,981 when he hit his earnings peak at the stations in 2018 before heading down last year. In 2017, Karlo received $333,106, according to data posted by TransparentCalifornia. In 2016 he got $314,654.
Nancy Worlie, associate general manager for content and communications, an Administrator III, got $142,027. In 2018, she received $191,012, per the TransparentCalifornia numbers. A year earlier, her compensation was $182,301.