The new president of Kentucky Community and Technical College System will receive a smaller total compensation package than his predecessor under a three-year contract approved Friday by the KCTCS Board of Regents.
President Jay Box will receive an annual salary of $345,000 and a $24,000 car allowance, according to officials, but will not receive deferred compensation, a housing allowance or a performance bonus, according to KCTCS officials.
In contrast, outgoing President Michael McCall, who has been among the highest-paid community college presidents in the country, had a base salary of $328,326, a $78,000 bonus, a housing allowance of $90,000 and a car allowance of $43,000 a year.
McCall also will make another year's salary as president emeritus in 2015.
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"Both Dr. Box and the board have negotiated a contract we believe is fair and equitable given the current public higher education climate," said board chairman P.G. Peeples.
KCTCS officials refused to release a copy of the contract Friday, instead requiring the Herald-Leader to file a request under the state Open Records Act. KCTCS has three days to respond to the request. In addition, KCTCS said it would only provide the document by mail, unlike many other government agencies that routinely email such documents.
Box officially takes office on Thursday, although he was chosen in November.
Box, a KCTCS chancellor, was the only presidential finalist named by the board. A Texas native, Box came to Kentucky in 2002 to be president of Hazard Community and Technical College. He worked there until 2007, when he was named a KCTCS vice president for administrative systems and, in 2009, chancellor.
The system — made up of 72 campuses and 92,000 students — was formed in 1997 as part of the Higher Education Reform Act.
A controversial portion of the law took all of the state's community colleges, which were run by the University of Kentucky, and merged them with the state's technical schools to create the new system.
McCall has been credited with creating an important access point for higher education.
The system is meeting state goals for total degrees and the number of students who transfer to four-year schools — more than 10,000 students last year.
However, total enrollment has fallen to 92,000 from a high of 108,000 students in 2011. The number of credentials awarded has stayed steady at about 28,000 for the past two years.
Affordability also is a significant problem. KCTCS has lost $38 million since 2008 in state funding, so like many schools in Kentucky, it relies more on tuition to pay the bills, and that puts more strain on students.