For Release March 26

Board Adopts Guidelines for Allocating University, Special Schools Salary Increases

ABERDEEN, SD—The Board of Regents, meeting today at the South Dakota School for the Visually Handicapped, adopted guidelines for distribution of salary increases for faculty and non-faculty exempt staff at the universities and the two special schools.

In the general appropriations bill governing the Board’s budget for the next fiscal year, the Legislature directed the Board to distribute salary increases at its discretion. "We have interpreted the Legislature to mean that we should grant salary increases based on individual merit and institutional priorities," said Regent James Hart, chairman of the Regents Committee on Budget and Finance. "With that in mind, we developed guidelines for the administration of each university and special school to follow when recommending raises this year."

Each campus should consider its own academic program priorities instead of an across-the-board approach, and increases should be based on individual performance. "When considering market comparisons, administrators must combine these two factors," said Executive Director Robert T. Tad Perry. "Although some academic programs are in greater demand than others, faculty members who excel as instructors or researchers will also be more attractive to other colleges and universities looking to hire experienced faculty. These are exactly the people that we want to keep in South Dakota."

The Board moved in December to adopt a salary enhancement plan after surveying surrounding states and regional peer institutions. "We found ourselves in an undesirable position in the market. Compiled data about our pools of applicants showed us that our universities were seeing a serious decline in the number of qualified applicants, especially in the hard sciences. Combine that with the effects of some of our bright young faculty leaving for more lucrative positions. We knew we had to do something to ensure qualified faculty for the future," said Hart.

This is not just a problem for the universities, said Perry. The salaries paid to teachers in the School for the Deaf in Sioux Falls and the School for the Visually Handicapped in Aberdeen trail salaries paid to public school teacher in their respective communities. At entry level the gap is several thousand dollars and it only widens with experience and more education, he said.

The salary competitiveness plan will be financed through a combination of the reduction of 114 full-time equivalent employees, increased student fees, and new or increased user fees in programs such as the Cooperative Extension Service and the Agricultural Experiment Station.

The next Board of Regents meeting will be May 7-8, 1998, in Brookings at South Dakota State University.

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