KU employees will get pay raises next fiscal year

photo by: Carter Gaskins

University of Kansas interim Provost Carl Lejuez speaks during a town hall forum about budget cuts on Monday, Aug. 27, 2018, in Eaton Hall on campus.

Updated at 10:48 a.m. Wednesday

University of Kansas employees will see a salary increase in the next school year, interim Provost Carl Lejuez said on Tuesday.

Lejuez announced in a message to campus that the university was able to include funding for raises of up to 2.5% for faculty and staff in the upcoming 2020 fiscal year budget, which begins July 1 and coincides with the 2019-2020 academic year.

Lejuez told the Journal-World the raises would be allocated to faculty and staff based on merit, which is the university’s standard practice. Part of the reason for basing raises on merit is for the university to ensure it retains high-achieving employees, he said. The university set aside about $10.4 million in the budget to fund the raises, according to the provost’s office.

Lejuez said the raises were part of the state’s push to provide salary increases to state employees. The Kansas Legislature provided some funding in the state budget to cover the raises, but only approximately 30% of KU’s raises are covered from those funds, Lejuez said. The remaining 70% is mostly funded by the university’s general use funds, which come from the state’s higher education funding allotment and revenue raised through university tuition and fees.

“Even though this (raise) was announced through the state, it’s important to note that we are finding ways to do a large proportion of this through our funds,” Lejuez said.

Lejuez’s announcement of the raises comes almost a week after the Kansas Board of Regents approved tuition rates for the state’s universities. While KU originally proposed a 1% increase to tuition, the university knocked its in-state tuition proposal back down to a flat rate. However, the university did increase tuition rates for out-of-state students by 2.5%.

Lejuez said the salary increases were possible because of an expected $3 million of increased revenue from tuition and additional funding to the university provided through the state’s $33 million increased allotment to higher education. But he noted it was also possible because of the university’s $20 million budget cuts announced in May 2018.

During town hall meetings over the last year regarding the budget, Lejuez said the cut gave the university the opportunity to explore a new budget model, which allows for the university to consider giving raises to faculty and staff in the early stages of the budgeting process rather than waiting to the end of the year to use whatever funds are left over.

“When I talked about foundational priorities in the town halls, we talked about how these cuts are hard but they helped us ensure that we are able to start having (faculty and staff) raises, keep tuition low and try to do what we can so we aren’t having cut after cut. I don’t want to take anything for granted, but it feels like we’ve largely been able to do that.”

Lejuez said the university had estimated numbers on incoming enrollment and the university did not foresee any more cuts to the budget.

Although Lejuez released some “big picture” information regarding the budget, it has not been completed just yet. Lejuez said the university would be adding the finishing touches to the 2020 fiscal year budget this week before it goes into effect July 1.

But Lejuez said he hoped this would be the last year the university is rushing to finish the budget the week before it will go into effect. Next school year the university expects to begin a new budgeting process that will have a general outline of the budget finalized sometime in the spring.

The new process will allow for the university community to have an idea what the budget will look like months prior to the beginning of a new fiscal year, he said.

Although various KU employees have received salary increases over the years, the last campuswide merit pay increase occurred during the 2017 fiscal year, said Jill Hummels, a spokeswoman for the provost’s office. Those raises went into effect in December 2016.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the breadth of the raises for KU employees.

Contact Dylan Lysen

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