Kentucky community college chief asks board not to give him a pay raise

KCTCS President Jay Box
KCTCS President Jay Box

The Board of Regents of the Kentucky Community & Technical College System has chosen not to act on a proposal that could have raised its president’s pay to more than $600,000 after two years.

President Jay Box asked the board not to act on the recommendation by the KCTCS President’s Contract Review Committee that he be given a salary increase of $50,000, along with $200,000 in deferred compensation that he would have received if he stayed in his position for two more years.

Box’s contract ends in 2021. His current salary is $355,350, according to the Herald-Leader’s online KCTCS salary database and board documentation. His total compensation is $379,350, which includes a $24,000 auto allowance, according to a benefits analysis included in the Board of Regents packet.

The board considered the recommendation for the salary increase and deferred compensation at its meeting Friday. The board is required to review Box’s contract and compensation annually, according to board bylaws.

Box said in an email Saturday that he believes he is “very well compensated,” and he has not asked for any change in his compensation.

During Friday’s board meeting, Box said there was “a lively discussion,” and some proposals for changes to the committee’s recommendation were put forward, but the board “could not come to any consensus on what was an appropriate dollar amount revision to the proposed executive supplement piece of the package.”

Box said “the majority of the board felt they needed more time to review the compensation information presented before moving forward with any changes to my compensation.“

So he said he recommended that the board stop deliberating and table the recommendation indefinitely, which the board did.

Box, who has been with KCTCS since 2002, has been president since January 2015.

He clarified further that “the only raise that I have received in those five years has been when the board has approved a raise for the faculty and staff at which point I have received the same percentage increase (or dollar amount when the board has awarded a flat dollar amount).”

If he had been given a raise, Box said he told the board Friday that he and his wife had already committed to use any additional compensation to set up “an endowment to support our recently-established Student Leadership Academy.”

“My belief is that the board should be focused on what KCTCS can do to help more Kentuckians obtain a better life through an education provided by our 16 colleges,” Box said in the email.

Board Chairwoman Gail Henson said Saturday that “budgetary conditions” had been of concern.

“It’s not a good time,” Henson said. “He said he did not want the board to move forward on this issue.”

Henson had appointed the special committee to review Box’s contract in July, after he received a highly favorable evaluation.

“It’s important to me that we affirm and value his exemplary leadership,” Henson said Saturday.

She said Box “has been a joy to work with” and has brought national recognition to the community college system. She noted that he serves on President Trump’s American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, and she pointed to a recent Wallethub ranking that placed Kentucky’s community college system ninth in the nation.

Executive pay for the KCTCS president has previously been a contentious issue, with faculty complaining about the amount Box’s predecessor, Michael McCall, was paid when he retired.