University of Kansas offering 540 staff buyouts in OP, Lawrence

The University of Kansas on Monday offered voluntary buyouts to 540 of its more than 4,800 faculty and staff members at its Lawrence and Overland Park campuses.

Those who qualify for the buyout would receive a lump sum payment equal to one year’s base salary, up to a maximum of $100,000, Provost Jeff Vitter said in an email to university employees. He said the buyouts were intended to strengthen investments in the goals outlined by the university’s strategic plan.

Generally, employees would qualify if they were 62 years old or older when they leave the university and had at least 10 years working for a Kansas Board of Regents institution or at the Kansas Board of Regents office, said Gavin Young, a spokesman for the provost’s office.

Employees who aren’t 62 years old or older could qualify if they had 85 points under the state’s retirement plan for public-sector workers. Employees earn one point for every year of service and one point for each year of age. Each employee must apply to be approved for the buyout, The Lawrence Journal-World reported.

The program was not established with a specific amount of savings in mind, Young said.

Social psychology professor Chris Crandall, who is president-elect of the University Senate, said university administrators have few other options to reduce tenured faculty, although some employees might hesitate to retire before health insurance becomes available through Medicare at age 65.

Employees can apply for the program through May 15 and must leave the university between July 24 and Dec. 31.