How Brownback’s higher education budgets affect Wichita State

In June, The Sunflower ran a story about how Wichita State would tie faculty salaries to enrollment numbers amid state funding cuts under Gov. Sam Brownback.

Earlier this week, the Kansas Board of Regents announced total enrollment headcount for state universities. Wichita State had the largest headcount decrease, dropping 4.1 percent from 2011 to 2016 while also seeing a decrease in full-time equivalent enrollment, which dropped 1.1 percent since 2011.

“As enrollment increases in importance to overall budget, student credit hour growth becomes a driving factor in the availability of raises,” Bardo wrote faculty in June.

President John Bardo’s promise of faculty raises will be fulfilled, allegedly, according to Vice President of Strategic Communications, Lou Heldman, despite enrollment numbers falling by 21 students from 2015 to 2016.

Heldman told The Sunflower that faculty earning below $90,000 will receive a 1 percent pay increase. Heldman did not state when the raises would be effective.

Wichita State is taking a 3.8 percent, $2.8 million, cut from the state after Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback cut Kansas higher education by $30.7 million for fiscal year 2017. Heldman did not announce where the 1 percent raise would be funded from.

Since Bardo’s first year in 2012, faculty earnings have been stagnant. Faculty voiced frustrations last year after they didn’t receive a promised raise of 2 percent.

Faculty salaries have been a nagging concern for a university in a state faced with continued fiscal problems under Brownback. But administrator salaries at WSU while Brownback has been governor have climbed despite yearly cuts.

During the same time period faculty salaries have been at a stand-still, several administrators (and former women’s basketball coach, Jody Adams) received significant raises. Salaries have not yet been released by the state for 2016.