Todd recommends no raises for faculty, staff

Budget would be first since 2002-03 to leave salaries unchanged

Staff and faculty will not receive salary increases next year because of shortfalls in the state budget and increased operating costs for the university, President Lee Todd announced yesterday.

“We have explored every avenue to increase salaries for faculty and staff, but the funds are simply not there,” Todd said in a campuswide e-mail yesterday.

If approved, the budget will be the first since 2002-03 that does not include raises for faculty and staff, and the first since 1992-93 that does not include increases or pay bonuses.

To balance the salary freeze, which would not include hospital employees, Todd will propose putting $850,000 into the “fighting fund,” which helps retain faculty who have job offers from other colleges by supplementing their salaries, said UK spokesman Jay Blanton. The university will also absorb any increase to employee health insurance premiums for UK HMO plans next year, Todd said.

Whether the staff hiring freeze enacted at the beginning of the year will continue has not yet been determined, Blanton said.

Faculty salaries have increased an average of 3.6 percent each year since 2003, while staff raises have averaged 3.3 percent.

Todd’s announcement comes the week after the state House and Senate approved a $20 million cut to UK’s funding. To help offset the reduction, Todd will propose tuition increases of 9 percent for in-state students and 6.6 percent for out-of-state students. An additional $14 million will have to be recovered through department and college cuts, which will be determined in the next few months by the provost, deans and senior administrators, Todd said.

Faculty and staff pay raises, as well as tuition increases, still have to be approved by the Board of Trustees at the April 22 meeting.

Faculty trustee Ernie Yanarella said last night that he and the two other faculty and staff trustees have already begun discussing Todd’s proposal. Yanarella said he does not want a situation at UK comparable to Kentucky public schools this year, where teachers will be receiving a 1 percent raise and may face layoffs.

“I think between getting no salary increase a year versus layoffs, I’d rather bite the bullet and accept no pay raises,” he said.

Todd warned in his e-mail that “the economic outlook for the next couple of years in Kentucky and the rest of the U.S. is not promising.”

Yanarella said he hopes UK’s budget problems are short term.

“It certainly is an unfortunate set of events we’re having to deal with, but the hope is that we’ll have rebounded in a year or two,” he said.

English senior Cassandra Lyons said she is concerned for how rising tuition costs will impact current and aspiring college students. With high tuition, raises may not be a good option this year, she said.

“I don’t know somebody who needs a raise every single year of their lives,” Lyons said.

Some UK staff members were concerned yesterday that they would not be able to keep up with the rising cost of living without a salary increase.

“I think it’s good for (students) that tuition isn’t going up as much, but it’s bad for the staff,” said Ronald Montgomery, a custodian in the Student Center.

Montgomery has worked at UK for 17 years. As a staff member, he received pay raises of 5 percent last year and 3.5 percent the year before that. Montgomery said the raises have balanced inflation and, without the raise, he may fall behind.

“The cost-of-living increase — to me, it’s another setback,” Montgomery said.

Another UK custodian, Joseph Dunbar, said the staff hiring freeze enacted at the beginning of the year has created more work for current staff.

“It’s true, cost of tuition is going up, but we struggle. We’re doing more than we should be because we’re understaffed,” he said.