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KU chancellor writes that possible state budget cuts would mean loss of at least 38 faculty jobs

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For the second time in a few weeks, a message from KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little on Monday addresses state budget cuts. And this one puts a number on the kind of effect the possible cuts being debated by the Kansas Legislature might have.

Gray-Little writes that the higher-education cuts being debated would force KU to eliminate at least 38 faculty jobs. That would seem to dampen the impact of the university's effort to fill 64 newly created faculty positions by a bit.

KU spokesman Jack Martin clarified for me that the 38 number is referring to the higher-ed cut being pushed by state House budget leaders, which would be 4 percent across the board. (The Journal-World's Scott Rothschild reported last week that, on the eve of a monthlong break at the Statehouse, those leaders were backing off from those proposed cuts.) Senate leaders have recommended a 2 percent cut.

Gray-Little's letter mentions fears that cuts could mean KU couldn't keep its top faculty from bolting to other universities that offer them more money, turning KU into a mere "farm team" for other institutions.

That brings us back to some of that faculty salary survey information I was yapping about earlier today. That Chronicle of Higher Education report on salaries showed that the gap in faculty pay between private universities and public ones is growing wider every year. In a story on the trend, the president of Florida State University also uses the "farm team" phrase, saying it's already happening there because of budget cuts.

The difference is even bigger at the top of the faculty pay scale: Full professors are earning an average of $140,000 at private colleges and about $110,000 at public ones. Around the country, state cuts are hampering budgets at some public universities, but private institutions haven't had to worry about that.

At KU, Gray-Little writes, the elimination of faculty jobs would mean KU wouldn't fill jobs left by departing professors. As Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean Danny Anderson told me in February, this means that the reduction in force can have little to do with where the most teaching and research is needed; it all comes down to who happens to retire or take another job.

We'll keep you updated on what happens. But only if you keep up your end of the deal and get those KU news tips to merickson@ljworld.com.

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  • Comments

    koman 1 year ago

    And so the race to the bottom continues. Less tax revenue = a decline in public education and infrastructure. That will attract businesses, right? Old brownie couldn't even keep a company like Alco - with ancient ties to Kansas - around. It's only going to get worse....

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    toe 1 year ago

    Too bad it is not more. If we can choke off the tax lovers on the hill, the community will be better off.

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    TongiJayhawk 1 year ago

    What makes you think they are going to cut Faculty positions? Staff are always the ones who are let go to cover these budget cuts. I would bet that every Dean has a faculty member they would rather see cut, but TENURE prevents that!

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    Centerville 1 year ago

    Since she's the highest paid state employee, she should take a hit, too.

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    mscynners 1 year ago

    They need to eliminate 38 UPS "director/assistant director" administrator positions that the 2million dollar+ consultants "HURON" said were needed to bring KU forward.......HA! They got a bunch of people running around with titles making at least 50k going to meetings, meetings, meetings implementing changes that don't work.....back tracking and more meetings attempting to figure out fixes to the changes... and the everyday peeps get more piled on without pay increases...oh excuse me we did get abit of one last year after about a 3year absence. Just so much BSing........ HOWEVER most of us "peeps" are definitely thankful and fortunate to have jobs with benefits so this is not a complaint... just an opinion!

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    SnakeFist 1 year ago

    It disturbs me that the response is to eliminate faculty and not administrative positions, eliminate services that are not essential to the teaching mission, or cut back on the flower budget for landscaping. Other area schools are making similar mistakes, especially replacing full-time faculty with cheap adjuncts while creating more and more administrative positions.

    Academia will soon look like your average corporation: A bloated executive class overseeing under-compensated, over-worked assembly line workers.

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    Richard Heckler 1 year ago

    This is becoming more and more like the RT wing approach to kill public education in an effort to make public education a corporate for profit enterprise complete with fraud on the taxpayers.

    Seems like the Kansas republicans are aiming at our universities to make them private business operations. Cutting tax dollar funding is the first step. Then we'll be hearing public higher education institutes are evil.

    Of course "private business operations" may sound good to the misinformed. These right wing private business concepts are supported with lots and lots of tax dollars = guaranteed profits.

    Magically more tax dollars will surface again for the corporate managed education facilities.

    Not good ideas at all. How can Kansas afford to vote right wing politics?

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    Jen43 1 year ago

    Are these real people being laid off or just "Positions" to be lost? In the past there have been unfilled Positions which were never filled, but the money was used for other purposes.

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    irtnog2001 1 year ago

    Exactly what is the cost and benefit of being a member of the AAU beyond bragging rights? Also, why can't endowment funds be used to make up the deficit? KU is always complaining it doesn't have enough public funds to keep the lights on but always seems to have enough "private" funds to build expensive buildings and purchase private jets.

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    lawrenceguy40 1 year ago

    Excellent news. Bring it on!

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    friendlyjhawk 1 year ago

    Hmmmmmmm, must have 38 faculty members they want to get rid of. Such an odd number to be quoted.

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