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 WATC/WSU Partnership Discussion Board

 
August 15
Question 35

My wife will be starting a graduate program at WSU within the next two years.  What is the tuition policy for employees at WSU?

 At this point with not moving thru the transition from WATC employees to WSU state employees until a later day (FY2020 or beyond) our employees will not be eligible for the WSU tuition policy. 
 
July 27
Question 34

Is it true that after 3 years under the agreement with WSU that people could possibly let go – considered non-essential jobs?

This is a false interpretation and there are no plans either written or oral for this to happen. There is plenty of work for everyone to have continued employment as long as individuals perform well in their jobs. 
July 11
Question 33

Will WATC military veterans have the option to join WSU’s Student Veteran Organization?

Yes. They will be eligible to be involved, but if there is a cost, then they will be charged that fee.
June 29
Question 32

Will WSU assume control over the currently non-existent Alumni Association (program) for WATC?

There are no plans at this time for the non-existent Alumni Association of WATC or the Foundation to be moved from the college oversight.

June 26
Question 31

Including 17 days of paid Holiday, we now enjoy a total of 360 hours of paid time off for the year.  How many paid holiday days does WSU award per year in addition to the 280 hours of vacation and sick leave.

Following are the holidays for WATC and WSU
HOLIDAYS:
WATC                                                           
New Year’s Day                  
Spring Break (Thursday-Friday)
Memorial Day
Independence Day
Labor Day
Thanksgiving Break (Monday-Friday)
Christmas Break (Dec 24th – 31st)
 
WSU
New Year’s Day                  
Martin Luther King Day
Memorial Day
Independence Day
Labor Day
Veterans Day-WSU open, comp time if work
Thanksgiving (Thursday-Friday)
Christmas Eve (added in 2016, not official yet
Christmas Day (closed for Christmas Break, Days vary
 
WATC PTO
< 2 yrs            144
2 to <4 yrs     184
4+ yrs             224
Exempt          224
No Max Accrual - Termination Max Payout 240 hrs. 
 
WSU
Sick leave:                   96.20
Vacation:                   176.02
Discretionary Day         8.00   award annually
Total:                          280.22
Vacation pay- NonExempt Max Accrual 304 hrs, Exempt 304 Hrs
Sick Pay - No Max Accrual
June 08
Question 30

Will the merger affect how much each position is paid in a negative way (i.e. reduced salaries?)

There will be no reductions to base salaries as a result of the affiliation.

April 21
Question 29

Here at WATC we have enjoyed nearly 18 paid vacation days a year.  Once we become part of WSU, will that benefit fall to the wayside?  From the looks of their website, they are asking employees to utilize their vacation days during the holiday seas (i.e. Christmas).

The annual accrual of 18 days (144 hours) of PTO at WATC is actually vacation pay and sick pay combined.

WSU does not combine the two, so employees accrue vacation pay and sick pay.
 
At WSU, fulltime employees (except 9-month faculty) accrue:
96.2 hours of sick pay annually
176.02 hours vacation pay annually
Also awarded is a discretionary paid day off (after 6 months of employment)
Total paid time off available:  280 hours.
 
It is correct that employees use vacation pay for part of WSU’s Christmas Break, but their paid time off is just about double what WATC employees currently earn.
 
Also of note is that WSU part-time employees also earn vacation and sick pay based on the number of hours worked.  WATC part-time employees do not earn paid time off.
 
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.
 
March 09
Question 27

Now that we will no longer be mergining, but just affiliated, will we be, at the end of the day, considered WSU employees?  I think many of us are concerned about our PTO time that we have here and would like to know if we will fall under their same accrual rates.

The answer is that yes we are affiliating and not merging with an end result that we will become WSU employees with an estimated date of transaction on July 1, 2018.  At WSU they don’t currently have PTO, rather they have vacation and sick leave.  The combination of their time split between the two is very similar to our PTO time each year.  There will be more details available on this by early summer.
 
 
December 15
Question 26
I know how the partnership benefits WSU and our students, but what is the benefit for WATC faculty and staff?  I know their benefits aren’t as good as ours, so how will this be profitable for us?
 
I would answer this by saying that it is my belief that employees will not be financially hurt in this process.  With regards to health insurance, WSU benefits are in some cases a higher cost than ours, your leadership and board will be working hard to ensure this is a smooth and whole process for our employees.  With the integration into WSU, our faculty and staff will be afforded tuition waivers for any WSU courses they might choose to take.  Calendar benefits may be different, but as in all integrations there will be pros and cons, we will work in collaboration with WSU to do our best to provide a benefit package that provides the best options for our employees.
 
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