Topeka Leaders of Kansas' public universities said Wednesday they are going to start pushing for funding for salary increases for faculty and staff on their campuses.
Kansas University Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said salaries for faculty and most staff have been frozen for two years, and employees are looking at a possible third straight year of no pay increase.
"This is a serious situation," Gray-Little said during a meeting of the Council of Presidents of the Kansas Board of Regents. "What we need to do is make a case and then talk about possible sources," of funding, she said.
Some KU employee salaries have increased as part of a state plan to raise the pay of people who have been paid far below market value, officials said.
Presidents of the five other regents institutions agreed that a plan needs to be mapped out to help get the salary increases.
Fort Hays State University President Ed Hammond said higher education leaders should set up a meeting with the next governor after the Nov. 2 election and discuss this issue with him. "We feel we owe our faculty and staff something," he said.
Because of budget problems, state funding to higher education has been cut approximately $100 million during the past two years, taking the state's portion of funding back to 2006 levels.
With the current funding crunch, Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz talked about possibly pushing for one-time bonuses for faculty and staff.
The leaders also discussed whether they should link tuition increase proposals to increasing salaries.
Several said it's tough to keep and recruit faculty and staff with salaries frozen.