Archive for Tuesday, April 17, 2012

KU offering buyouts to 540 faculty, staff members on Lawrence, Edwards campuses

April 17, 2012


Kansas University is offering buyouts to 540 of its more than 4,800 faculty and staff members on its Lawrence campus and Edwards campus in Overland Park.

In an email to the KU community on Monday afternoon, Provost Jeff Vitter outlined the voluntary separation program, which is open to 11.25 percent of employees.

Those who are approved for the program would receive a lump sum cash payment equal to one year’s base salary, up to a maximum of $100,000.

“The (program) is intended to prioritize our funding towards investment in the goals and strategies identified by the KU community in Bold Aspirations, our strategic plan,” Vitter said in the email.

Faculty, unclassified staff and university support staff are eligible for the buyout, provided they meet certain criteria.

Generally, employees would qualify if they were 62 years old or older at the time of their separation and had at least 10 years of service working for a Kansas Board of Regents institution or at the Kansas Board of Regents office, said Gavin Young, a spokesman for the provost’s office.

Instead of being 62 years old or older, employees also could qualify if they had 85 points under the KPERS retirement plan. Employees earn one point for every year of service and one point for each year of age.

Eligible employees must apply for approval. Young said the intent is to allow as many faculty and staff to participate as possible.

“Each application will be granted based on whether there’s a benefit to the university,” Young said.

The program was not established with a specific amount of savings in mind, he said.

Chris Crandall, professor of social psychology who is serving as president-elect of KU’s University Senate this year, said that from a university governance perspective, he’d rather see “carrots” — incentives for people to leave — than “sticks.”

“This looks like it’s all carrot, and they were trying to find people in those areas that the strategic plan didn’t see as a future strength,” Crandall said.

Administrators have few options to trim the size of tenured faculty members, he said.

He said some employees may balk at retiring while having to provide their own health insurance, Crandall said, before Medicare kicks in at age 65.

Employees can apply for the program through May 15, and must leave the university between July 24 and Dec. 31 to qualify.

A complete set of guidelines is available online at


Kookamooka 6 years, 2 months ago

I always wonder about how a group gets group health insurance. Could the university or another type of "group" sort of shelter these people who choose the buy out until medicare kicks in?

SnakeFist 6 years, 2 months ago

Yes, they can. JCCC did that for years but they've either stopped or will stop shortly because of the cost.

Adrienne Sanders 6 years, 2 months ago

Regarding KPERS "points": you get two points for each year of service, not one.

From the KPERS website: "You can retire at any age, with full benefits, when you have 85 points. The 85 point rule is when your age and years of service credit added together equal 85. Every year you work, you will gain two points - one for each birthday and one for the year of service credit."

Pete Kennamore 6 years, 2 months ago

Which is EXACTLY what the article indicated.

Adrienne Sanders 6 years, 2 months ago

The article says "Employees earn one point for every year of service and one point for each year of age."
I would take that to mean that if a person were 40 years old and had worked there for 20 years, they would have 60 points.
In reality they would have 80 points.

ahyland 6 years, 2 months ago

Using this calculator from the KPERS website, a person who is 40 years old and with 20 years of service would have 60 points, and would not reach 85 points until they were 53 years old.

Andy Hyland LJW Reporter

any 6 years, 2 months ago

It's actually only 60 points. In your scenario the person would be 20 when they started working so they start off with 20 points for their age. 20 years of service is 40 points (20 points for the years of service and 20 points for each year of age gained). Therefore, it is only 60 points.

The 80 points is giving them double points for the first 20 years of their life when they were not working under KPERS.

Adrienne Sanders 6 years, 2 months ago

No, I'm not giving them "double points for when they're not working under KPERS". If that were the case they'd have 40 points for the first 20 years of their life, which makes even less sense.

Apparently I fail to understand KPERS explanation, tho.

verity 6 years, 2 months ago

Each year you work in a KPERS job after being vested, you get one year older---therefore you get one point for age and one point for working a year. So you do get two points a year, but only after you're vested.

OutlawJHawk 6 years, 2 months ago

I know at least one person that qualified for this and was laid off shortly before this was offered. Dirty, rotten people and you know who you are. And I know several people who retired recently before this was offered...I feel for them too.

guppypunkhead 6 years, 2 months ago

It's easy, people. It's age plus years worked @ a KPERS job.

verity 6 years, 2 months ago

You can continue on the state health insurance plan after retirement---of course you have to pay the whole premium, but it's a lot less expensive than buying it on your own. As long as you stay on the plan you can keep it indefinitely, not like COBRA, which is limited.

I will warn you though, because HR may not make this clear. HR is apparently required by law to turn your name in to COBRA. COBRA will contact you and try to get you to go with them even though you have signed up for continuing the state insurance. They do not tell you that their policy has nothing to do with the state. Do not mistake them for the state which is the Kansas Health Policy Authority---KHPA.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 2 months ago

If anything, this gives a great advantage to older workers who are considering retiring. It is unfair to younger employees.

I agree that the mediocrity at KU runs deep and is present in younger workers as well.

It is not just retirement age faculty who are unproductive at KU. In many cases, once tenure is reached, faculty just stop trying, no matter how young or old they are.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 2 months ago

This is a great deal for people whose careers are waning and are near retirement anyway.

It is also good for KU, because many rankings determine faculty productivity per capita, including American Association of Universities rankings.

Thus, an unproductive faculty member actually hurts KU's reputation and ranking.

This is a win-win for everyone involved.

While staff are included, this is definitely meant for waning faculty nearing retirement age.

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