Governor OKs budget that includes 3 percent pay increases

10:27:00 AM CDT - Thursday, April 22, 2004

By Amy Geiszler-Jones

Earlier this week, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius signed a $10.2 billion budget that includes funding for cost-of-living increases for state employees, $2 million in aviation research funding for WSU, and money to enhance faculty salaries.

The signed budget, however, isn't the final budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The Legislature adjourned April 2, and lawmakers will return April 28 to do any final budget cleanup, including addressing last-minute spending issues. WSU's final budget won't be determined until that omnibus session adjourns.

Based on the governor's recommendations released in January, the Legislature agreed to provide 3 percent cost-of-living increases for classified employees. For faculty and unclassified professionals, the increase will be awarded based on merit. The signed budget also includes $2 million in funding, which was requested by the aviation industry, to support the National Institute for Aviation Research. The budget also provides, in line with the governor's recommendation as well, $8.9 million in funding for the Board of Regents in support of Senate Bill 345, which reorganized higher education in Kansas a few years ago. About $3.3 million of that funding will be distributed to the six regents universities to enhance faculty salaries.

While WSU would receive about $1.6 million more next year under Sebelius' budget plan to increase funding for state agencies, the university has been asked to give back nearly $1.7 million, in a one-year only request, to help fund a 3 percent cost-of-living increase for employee salaries.

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