Topeka With Gov. Bill Graves' budget considerations looming, the Kansas Board of Regents on Thursday was all but scrambling to assemble a task force to address faculty salary increases.
Citing "real-time problems," regents issued a "fast-track" directive to form the task force, including Kansas University Chancellor Robert Hemenway. The group was asked to brainstorm creative options for faculty salary raises.
Regents were in part concerned that Graves may not grant the full request of 5 percent that was included in the fiscal year 1999 budget.
Responding to the board's budget requests, state budget director Gloria Timmer earlier this month returned a pay-raise recommendation of 2.5 percent. Graves is expected to begin hammering out his budget recommendations the first week of December.
"Whether we get that or not, the (regents) have asked a group to look at ways we might identify additional salary-enhancement programs," Hemenway said.
He said such a plan would augment the traditional merit-based raise system with perhaps additional merit funds that would specifically recognize teaching excellence.
On Tuesday, regents chairman Bob Talkington, executive director Steven Jordan and other board representatives made their official budgetary appeals to the governor.
Regent Ken Havner, chairman of fiscal affairs, said Graves reacted positively to a number of items, including the suggested one-time allocation of $12 million for technology needs.
Graves reportedly also expressed a general interest in strengthening salaries of regents faculty, but he was somewhat hesitant because those salaries are tied to salaries for all state employees.
Graves indicated there would be "some room if the board could come forward with some creative idea," Havner said.
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