Q: I read that 56 students graduated from Haskell Indian Junior College last week. Didn't they have about 800 students there this spring? That doesn't sound like a whole lot of graduates.
A: Hannes Combest, education assistant to Haskell's president, said Haskell, like any other college or university, reports the number of its graduates on an annual basis.
"For the 1992-93 academic year, as in previous years, approximately 100 students were granted degrees from Haskell," Combest said.
But not every student graduating from the college attends commencement and not every student taking classes at Haskell plans to graduate from the college.
"Students often come to Haskell for one or two semesters, only taking classes which help them fulfill their academic goals, and then they successfully matriculate to a baccalaureate degree-granting institution," Combest said.
Q: I'd like to know why Lawrence Memorial Hospital employees never receive cost of living increases. The last time LMH gave this type of an increase was 4 percent in July 1985. LMH is a city hospital, but the employees never the raises or benefits that city police and fire departments receive. The spending power of LMH employees probably has decreased 25 percent over this period of time and it hurts.
A: "We didn't eliminate (cost of living increases)," said Dennis Strathmann, chief financial officer of LMH. "We combined them with merit increases. Even if you do an average job, you're still going to get a 2 to 3 percent increase."
Janice Early-Weas, director of community relations at LMH, said that in 1986 the hospital revised its wage and salary program and separate cost of living adjustments were folded into the new system. She said raises under the new system were adjusted according to an employee's job performance.
"We believe in rewarding our employees for their performance rather than an automatic raise," she said. "LMH employees are eligible for merit increases of 0 to 7 percent depending on their job performance."
Early-Weas said an informal survey of LMH employees shows employees received an average annual salary increase of 5.6 percent.
She said LMH is a municipal hospital that does not receive tax revenue from the city, county or state. LMH employees are not city employees, and for wage and salary purposes the hospital does not compare itself with other governing entities but with other health-care facilities.