Todd issues pay freeze



Increased tuition at UK is not the only thing seemingly becoming a tradition because of state funding cuts.

Although the next two-year state budget has still not been decided, both the House and Senate’s proposals include state funding cuts to postsecondary institutions. Because of the anticipated cuts, and in addition to a capped 6 percent tuition increase, UK faculty and staff will not receive raises for the third year in a row.

In an e-mail sent through the all-campus listserve, UK President Lee Todd said in the House and Senate’s version of the state budget, a 1.4 percent reduction in the state appropriation for Kentucky’s postsecondary institutions was made. For UK, this would mean $4.4 million less in state funding, the e-mail said.

“Given the circumstances we face — and the prospect that 2011-12 will be another difficult year — we will not be able to provide across-the-board salary increases to faculty and staff,” Todd said in the e-mail. “… the fiscal condition of the state and the necessary increases in fixed costs make it impossible to take on the recurring expense of a salary increase (a 1 percent salary increase would cost the university’s general fund $3.6 million).”

Newly elected faculty trustee Joe Peek said he has received e-mails from faculty who are concerned because the language of the e-mail only mentioned faculty and staff – and not administrators.

According to an an open records request Peek received from UK that is posted on his website, from October 2007 to March 2008, about 14 administrators received raises.

“I have no idea what it means … It would be nice if he said something about, ‘and we’re not going to be raising salaries of administrators either,’” Peek said. “Maybe he has not made plans for anything, but it’d be nice to know that.”

In an e-mail to the Kernel, UK spokesman Jimmy Stanton said he has not been here for all the salary freezes and said administrators are employees that fall under the faculty and staff category.

“Maybe it (not including administrators) was an oversight, maybe it’s for flexibility, I have no idea,” Peek said. “Because of what’s happened in the past, a number of faculty are somewhat suspicious.”

Peek said the problem UK has is the state government legislated the university become a top-20 university.

“It’s an unfunded mandate,” he said. “It would seem that if they’re serious, then they should put some money behind it.”

Peek said one problem with having salary freezes is losing some of the best faculty and staff members to other universities paying salaries closer to market salaries.

“And that absolutely hurts the quality of this university and the ability of this university to become better,” he said.

In addition to faculty and staff pay freezes, UK students will see a 6 percent increase in tuition next semester, after the Council on Postsecondary Education set the tuition and mandatory fee ceilings last Friday, and the UK Board of Trustees approved it Tuesday.

With a 6 percent tuition increase, in-state tuition per semester for fulltime students with less than 60 hours would increase by  about $244, and tuition for out-of-state fulltime students with less than 60 hours would increase by about $500. In-state tuition for fulltime students with more than 59 hours would increase by about $250, and out-of-state tuition for fulltime students with more than 59 hours would increase by about $507, according to tuition amounts listed on the Office of the Registrar’s website.

In a news release by the Council on Postsecondary Education, Council President Bob King said the increases balance the needs and interests of students with the needs of campuses to maintain operations. The news release also said King met with student government leaders by telephone who agreed the increases were reasonable.

Student Government President Ryan Smith said state budget problems and its consequences were some reasons he and members of SG wanted to create their $250,000 scholarship drive this year.

“We have already raised a lot of money for that scholarship effort, and the reason we did that is we obviously saw the tough economic times that we’re in,” Smith said.

Smith said SG has plans to continue raising money for scholarships too.

“We will be making trips this summer across the region … to continue to raise money for this drive,” he said.

Less state funding and investment income combined with increasing costs results in a “hole” of more than $18 million for 2010-11, Todd said in the e-mail.

“As I told the council last week and the board today, the amount of money generated by this increase will not be sufficient to cover the university’s gap between revenue and expenses, much less provide the necessary funding for critical academic initiatives,” Todd said. “… So we will be working between now and the board’s June 8 meeting to make up for the estimated $7.5 million shortfall by reducing costs and reallocating funds.”