University leaders in Kansas see pay frozen for 2nd year

The leaders of Kansas' four-year universities won't be getting pay raises for the second year in a row.

The Board of Regents, which governs the six institutions, voted Thursday to freeze the salaries of the chancellor of the University of Kansas and the five university presidents.

The vote came one day after the regents agreed to ask that state lawmakers fund a five-part, $50.4 million "Kansas Commitment" initiative to boost the economy, repair neglected buildings, and help schools manage inflation.

The commitment also includes the creation of a middle- and low-income student grant/loan program for families living below the state's median income level — $50,174. Students who qualify for a grant would commit to graduating and working in the state. Students who don't meet those conditions would be expected to pay back the money.

"Public universities are supposed to be for those who have the talent, not just those rich enough to afford to pay for it," said board chairman Gary Sherrer of Overland Park.

A tight state budget was blamed for the salary freeze. "This has nothing at all to do with performance," said Regent Christine Downey-Schmidt of Inman. In fact, she said, regents are pleased with the leaders' work.

"They're not asking for any kind of raise this year," said Regent Dan Lykins of Topeka. "But I feel bad having to freeze them knowing what their peers are getting."

The compensation packages, including public and private contributions are:

* KU chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, $425,000;

* Kansas State president Kirk Schulz, $350,000;

* Wichita State president Don Beggs, $277,160;

* Fort Hays State president Ed Hammond, $223,860;

* Pittsburg State president Steven Scott, $213,200;

* Emporia State president Michael Lane, $213,200.