Kansas University officials announced on Friday that 97 of university employees will take buyouts and retire by Dec. 31, resulting in a savings of $4.9 million.
The positions will be held open for at least a year, and then will be evaluated moving forward, said Gavin Young, a KU spokesman.
“This is an opportunity for the individual areas to have a discussion as to whether the funding can be directed to one of the strategic plan priorities or reallocated elsewhere,” Young said.
Young said that 66 university support staff, 20 unclassified staff and 11 faculty members accepted buyouts.
He would not provide a list of names of the people who accepted, saying that his focus was not on individuals but on the program as a whole. He suggested the Journal-World file a request under the Kansas Open Records Act if it wanted the names of the people who will participate in the program. The Journal-World filed its request on Friday.
Young said about 650 of the approximately 5,000 employees on the Lawrence and Edwards campuses were eligible for the program. Of those, 149 people applied, and the university offered buyouts to 106 people.
“The biggest guide to the decision was whether or not there would be a benefit to the university,” when deciding whether to accept an application, Young said.
Those approved for the program received a lump sum payment of one year’s salary, up to $100,000.
Charla Jenkins, director of public relations for the University Theatre and the theater department, was one of the employees accepted for the program. She said she originally had planned to retire in September 2013, when she turned 66.
“I’m glad they gave us enough lead time to work everything out,” Jenkins said, saying she met with her financial adviser and looked at scenarios before deciding to accept the offer.
“It’s going to be tough to walk away,” said Jenkins, who will have worked at KU for 35 years in November. “But the time has come. I’m glad I’m still young enough that I can enjoy it.”