The incoming president at Kentucky State University, M. Christopher Brown, will make a base salary of $270,000 a year, along with possible incentive bonuses for improving student achievement at the historically black college and staying on the job through 2020, according to his contract.
Brown, who stepped down at his last job as president of Alcorn State University after a spending scandal, was hired March 13 in a split vote by the KSU Board of Regents after a contentious and controversial search and hiring process. The board met at 5:30 p.m. April 21, with the majority of members appearing through videoconferencing, to finalize the contract.
Brown’s contract is for three years, with a possible one-year extension. Under the contract, Brown will get a bonus that equals 20 percent of his annual base salary, or $54,000, if he achieves the following goals:
▪ Increase the actual dollars given to students for scholarships and aid by 10 percent from a 2015-16 baseline.
▪ Increase “completed applications from qualified students” by 10 percent from 2015-16. Although this is described as an enrollment goal, it only mentions applications.
▪ Improve the number of students who stay at KSU between their freshman and sophomore years by 10 percent from 2015-16.
▪ Increase brand exposure and attention, and encourage research productivity and faculty awards and honors, “as evidenced by local and national media.”
▪ Increase Kentucky State’s unrestricted contributions by at least $100,000.
Those goals can be modified annually by the board, according to the contract.
Brown also would receive an annual retention bonus of $20,000 for each year between 2018 and 2020, receiving the money in a lump sum only if he is employed on May 14, 2020.
The contract, which the Herald-Leader obtained using the Kentucky Open Records Act, gives Brown several other common presidential perks, including an official residence, Hillcrest; about $12,000 a year for a car allowance; and as much as $6,000 for club memberships.
The contract also establishes a $30,000 “Presidential Fund” to be administered by Brown. A third of that is to be used to establish a staff incentive and service fund, a third is to set up faculty recognition awards, and the remaining third is to be used for student recognition initiatives.
Brown, who is scheduled to start May 15, will face a fractured campus and an uncertain financial future under a new state performance funding formula that is based on graduation rates, student retention and other metrics. Last month, the faculty senate took a vote of no-confidence in Karen Bearden, chairwoman of the board of regents, and another no confidence vote in the entire Board of Regents. That provoked a dissenting vote from the Faculty of Color Caucus.
With about 2,200 students, Kentucky State is the smallest public university in the state. University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto gets a base pay of $790,000, and incoming Morehead State University President Jay Morgan will make $325,000. Former Kentucky State President Raymond Burse made about $259,000 a year.