KCTCS president makes salary on par with other systems, study finds

KCTCS President Jay Box.
KCTCS President Jay Box.

The president of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System is paid a salary that is competitive with his peers, a consultant has concluded.

Lyle Hanna of the Hanna Resource Group told the KCTCS Board of Regents’ compensation committee Thursday morning that President Jay Box’s total salary of $375,000 was competitive with an average of $358,000 for leaders of comparable systems nationwide.

“Our conclusion is he is right on the market,” Hanna said.

The committee did not take action, but said the information would be part of Box’s annual evaluation, which will be completed next week during a meeting of the full board of regents.

Salaries at KCTCS have gained attention after last week’s revelation by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting that former system president Michael McCall received $817,000 last year for his role as president emeritus. The $300,965 that McCall received for consulting last year was less than half of his post-retirement compensation. McCall was also paid $352,066 for unused vacation days, $124,249 in deferred compensation and $38,460 in his final two working paychecks, according to a breakdown obtained by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.

The news came the same day that KCTCS announced it was cutting 506 positions because of declining enrollment and state budget cuts. A day later, Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration publicly questioned the leadership of Box and said it plans a comprehensive review of operations in the system’s central office.

P.G. Peeples, former chairman of the board and current chairman of the compensation committee, would not say if the board would take action next week to recommend a raise for Box. Asked about the comparison with McCall, he said: “We have corrected that situation.”

The study by Hanna Resource Group looked at the Chronicle of Higher Education’s annual roundup of presidential salaries, as well as other national studies. It looked at college systems similar in size, such as the University of Wisconsin system and Maricopa Community Colleges.

Hanna also considered the salaries of Kentucky university presidents, but his comparison looked only at base salaries, not at other compensation. For example, University of Louisville President James Ramsey receives a base salary of $360,283, but Louisville media outlets found that he makes at least $2 million, much of it paid by the University of Louisville Foundation. Other presidents receive housing and car allowances.

Hanna’s group was paid $100,000 for the study, which includes a comprehensive look at all pay in the KCTCS system. Officials have not yet released information on faculty and staff pay.

Peeples declined to comment on the recent announcement by Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Hal Heiner that he was concerned about how KCTCS is being managed under Box.

Linda Blackford: 859-231-1359, @lbblackford