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Archive for Thursday, January 11, 1990

SALARIES, MAINTENANCE WORRY KU

January 11, 1990

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A review of Gov. Mike Hayden's proposed budget cuts for Kansas University has revealed a clerical error that made KU's funding picture appear worse than it really was.

But recommendations for the next budget year still would leave KU with small increases for salaries, utilities and operating expenses, and no additional money to maintain new buildings.

Chancellor Gene Budig, commenting for the first time on the spending blueprint, said today that the state must sustain support for Kansas Board of Regents universities.

"Governors make budgetary recommendations, and legislators respond to them. We at the regents universities have time to make our case before legislative decisions are made," he said.

To reduce expenditures in the face of a financial crisis, Hayden proposed KU forfeit about $2.5 million this year in "shrinkage," the money KU saves by not immediately filling job openings.

Tom Rawson, associate vice chancellor for administration and finance at KU, said a technical error was made by the governor's staff in calculating shrinkage at the university.

THE ACTUAL loss to KU would be approximately $254,000 this year and $318,000 in the following budget year, Rawson said. It is assumed the discrepancy will be resolved, he said.

Hayden's proposal includes reform of the shrinkage formula, which has prompted complaints from legislators who accused universities of using savings from staff turnover for non-salary purposes.

The budget plan unveiled by the governor called for a $247 million operating budget for KU in Fiscal Year 1991, which begins July 1. That amounts to a $2.9 million increase over the FY 1990 budget.

Hayden has declined to recommend funding of the third year of the Margin of Excellence. The program alone would have increased KU faculty salaries an average of 3.5 percent.

"Presidents of the state universities intend to continue their fight for passage of year three of the Margin," Budig said. "We are unshaken in our resolve."

"I have talked with more than 60 legislators in the past six weeks. They expect us to argue for the Margin. I know the governor respects our position and commitment," he said.

HAYDEN ALSO sliced the KU request for base faculty salary increases from 5 percent to 4 percent. KU employees in the state classified system would receive an average 4 percent pay increase.

However, no provision was made for the requested 5 percent increase in student salaries. Even more money is needed to comply with scheduled raises in the minimum wage, Rawson said.

He said the change from $3.35 an hour to $3.80 on April 1 and a second raise to $4.25 in 1991 meant that to hold student employment constant, universities need a 15 to 20 percent increase in the student salary budget.

Ray Hauke, regents director of planning and budget, said a startling policy shift included in Hayden's budget is the absence of an increase for service to new buildings.

If the Legislature supports that change, KU would miss out on a $428,000 increase in next year's budget. The costs would have to be absorbed by the university, Rawson said.

ANOTHER ISSUE certain to prompt debate during the session is the governor's idea of linking utility budgets at regents universities to actual expenses in a previous year.

Rawson said the Legislature's policy for at least the past 10 years has been to fully fund utility expenses, regardless of weather conditions or price increases.

Hayden wants to provide universities a flat 2 percent increase in the utility budget. The danger, Rawson said, is that shortfalls might have to be made up with instructional funds.

A bit of good news, at least for graduate students, is that Hayden recommended the fee waiver for graduate teaching assistants be increased from 75 to 80 percent. KU has sought a 100 percent fee waiver.

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