Pay raises approved for some KU workers; housing vote to come

Members of the Kansas Board of Regents approved pay raises for two groups of Kansas University employees on Wednesday, and one member praised universities for keeping their room-and-board rates below the national average.

Regent Dan Lykins said he appreciated that none of the universities new rate proposals were above $8,000, given the national average of $8,200.

“Keep up your good work in being below average in that area,” he said.

KU’s room-and-board proposal would increase the yearly rate for a typical double occupancy room by $178, from $7,080 to $7,258, which equals 2.5 percent.

Some regents questioned the reasoning behind the two highest percentage increase requests: Pittsburg State’s 4 percent increase and Kansas State’s 3.5 percent increase.

Diane Duffy, the regents’ vice president for finance and administration, said the larger increase requests were related to debt payments that needed to be made to fund older improvements. At Pittsburg State, for example, she said, half of the increase was scheduled to pay off debt, while the remaining 2 percent was necessary to cover operations.

Regents are scheduled to vote on whether to accept the university rate proposals at their next monthly meeting in December.

Regents also approved pay raises for two groups of KU employees. Regents approved a KU proposal for an annual raise of $525 for safety and security officers and $815 for police officers and detectives. To be eligible, employees must have satisfactory job evaluations from 2008 to 2010.

They approved another proposal for KU maintenance and service employees, represented by Local 1290 PE, who would receive a $500 annual raise. Also, covered employees who have satisfactory job evaluations and no suspensions from 2008 through 2010 will get an additional $140 increase. The proposed raises would take effect Dec. 11.

The raises were passed with no discussion as part of the regents’ consent agenda.

Regents also announced the formation of the search committee that will look for the next president of Wichita State University, after President Don Beggs announced he would step down after 12 years of service on June 30, 2012.

Steve Clark, a Wichita resident, a former regent and president and CEO of Clark Investment Group, will serve as the committee’s chairman. The committee will work with the R. William Funk and Associates executive search firm. That firm also assisted with the search that ended with the hiring of Bernadette Gray-Little as KU’s chancellor in 2009.

By Andy Hyland

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