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WATC/WSU Partnership Discussion

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WATC/WSU Partnership Discussion > Posts > Question 28
March 27
Question 28

I understand the importance of providing further education to our students who might not otherwise have the means or opportunities to do so, and all the reasons for us to affiliate (benefits of students, employers, and community) but also remaining autonomous. However, I don't understand why employees have to become WSU employees if WATC is remaining a separate institution. From the changes that have been made so far and will continue to change (insurance, holidays, retirement, etc) what is the benefit to current WATC employees to become WSU employees? Is this a requirement of the affiliation? That isn't something I've heard during our updates. WSU employees are state employees and therefore susceptible to the possibility of government shutdowns, decreased state funding, etc. Also, what will happen if/when Dr. Bardo or Sheree leaves? Could you please provide some answers and clarity to ease the minds and hesitancy of current employees?

The concerns raised with this question are all valid and deserving of answers.  I will start by better defining the affiliation.  We will not be a separate institution; rather we will be a WSU Campus with our own 2-year degree granting accreditation from HLC.  We will continue to provide services and programs as we do today, but we will be under the governance of the Kansas Board of Regents via WSU.  With being governed by the Regents and being a WSU campus, that means that we must become WSU employees.  Any affiliation or merger has pros and cons and this one is no different.  Many of you have only worked through the “good financial times” at WATC and for that, we are thankful. Those “good times” have not always been the case for our college and we believe that stability is a huge benefit to our employees.  WATC has had unstable state and local funding over the years; WSU has typically had a more stable funding model.  You are correct that state employees are susceptible to issues, but that has not historically been the case.  All higher education institutions have been and continue to be susceptible to state budget cuts and our affiliation with WSU does not minimize or exacerbate that possibility.
 
Following are some benefits that will be afforded to employees post affiliation: 
  • Employees on a single plan for medical insurance will see a reduced price and lower deductible 
  • Lower income employees with children can enroll the kids in the state Healthy Kids insurance plan, saving them money on insurance coverage at work. 
  • Employees will be able to choose retirement plans – stay with KPERS or choose the KBOR plan with high employer contributions. 
  • WSU pays much more into a Health Savings Account for employees covered on the High Deductible insurance.  Please note though that if you are not on a high deductible plan your insurance rates for a family plan or employee/spouse will increase.  Those rates will not be available until late Oct. 2017. 
  • Part-time employees will be eligible for insurance and paid time off benefits.
  • Paid time off – WSU actually has better paid time off benefits.  Between vacation and sick time, employees earn 272 hours per year (WATC is 144-224 hrs).
  • Tuition Assistance benefits – working towards a Bachelors & Master’s degree 
  • More generous Shared Leave benefit (leave for serious conditions where the employee has exhausted all paid leave)– employees do not need to contribute to a bank to be eligible and benefits are payable for up to 6 months.   
  • 15 days of paid military leave per year at WSU – at WATC employee must use PTO or take unpaid.
 

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