On Wednesday, May 6, Mark Polatajko, senior vice president for finance and administration, sent an email to Kent State faculty and staff regarding budget planning for fiscal year 2021 to counter the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and evaluate the university’s financial future. 

The Board of Trustees approved a salary adjustment model for employees not represented by the American Association of University Professors, or the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees for fiscal year 2021. The Board also approved memorandums of understanding between the full-time tenured/tenure-track faculty unit and the full-time non-tenure track faculty unit of the Kent State Chapter of the AAUP. 

The two AAUP faculty unions agreed to modify their collective bargaining agreements with the university by extending the agreements by one year and deferring raises for the upcoming year. 

The Board also approved the voluntary separation incentive program for regular full-time staff and faculty who have three or more years of full-time service to Kent State as of June 30, 2020. 

This plan gives eligible staff and faculty the option of taking advantage of a separation package while providing the university with more flexibility to respond to current budgetary challenges and priorities. 

Part-time, temporary and contracted employees, employees who have retired and were later rehired, and those in grant-funded positions are not eligible for the plan. 

Under the plan, the following separation incentives will be offered to eligible employees:

  • Employees not represented by AAUP or AFSCME will receive three months of salary plus the lesser of three months of salary or $20,000, continuation of healthcare coverage for up to six months, retention of the tuition waiver benefit for four years and payment of leave balances in accordance with university policy. 

  • Employees represented by AFSCME will receive two weeks of salary plus an additional six weeks of salary, continuation of healthcare coverage for up to six months, retention of the tuition waiver benefit for four years and payment of leave balances in accordance with university policy. 

  • Faculty represented by the AAUP (tenured/tenure-track and non-tenure track) will receive three months of salary plus the lesser of three months of salary or $20,000, continuation of healthcare benefits for up to 12 months, retention of the tuition waiver benefit for four years and payment of leave balances in accordance with university policy. 

Employees who are eligible for the voluntary separation incentive program will receive communication from the Division of Human Resources by May 11. The period for electing to participate in the program will be May 11 through June 1. 

Qualifying employees electing the plan will separate from service with Kent State on June 30, 2020. 

For more information on Kent State’s cost-cutting measures, visit https://www.kent.edu/ensuring-kent-state-future

Maria McGinnis is a features/opinion editor. Contact her at mmcginn9@kent.edu.

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