Interim Joint Committee on Education

 

Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education

 

Minutes of the<MeetNo1> 1st Meeting

of the 2002 Interim

 

<MeetMDY1> August 19, 2002

 

The<MeetNo2> 1st meeting of the Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education of the Interim Joint Committee on Education was held on<Day> Monday,<MeetMDY2> August 19, 2002, at<MeetTime> 10:00 AM, in<Room> Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Jack Westwood, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.

 

Present were:

 

Members:<Members> Senator Jack Westwood, Co-Chair; Representative Mary Lou Marzian, Co-Chair; Senators Lindy Casebier, Ray Jones II, Gerald Neal, and R.J. Palmer II; Representatives Hubert Collins, Russ Mobley, Frank Rasche, Tom Riner, Charles Siler, Dottie Sims, and Mark Treesh.

 

Guests:  Barbara Ashley, Kentucky Community College Faculty Alliance; Charles B. Wells, AFT of Kentucky; James Applegate, Dianne M. Bazell, Dennis Taulbee, and Bill Swinford, Council on Postsecondary Education; Tony Sholar, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce; Rick Casey and Al Kirkpatrick, Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority; and Joyce Dotson and Ken Hines, Kentucky Education Association.

 

LRC Staff:  Sandra Deaton and Lisa Moore.

 

Senator Westwood introduced the members of the subcommittee and welcomed Senator Jones and Senator Palmer who are new to the Education Committee.  He discussed the list of issues assigned to the subcommittee including Implementation of SB 74 (2002) – College Preparatory Educational Programs, P-16 Councils, Implementation of SB 1 (2002) – Adult Education and Literacy, Prepaid Tuition Act, KCTCS Salary Schedule, KHEAA Initiatives, and University Foundations.

 

Senator Westwood welcomed Dr. Michael B. McCall, President, Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), and Ms. Cynthia Read, Chair, KCTCS board,  who discussed the KCTCS salary schedule.

 

Dr. McCall said he appreciated the opportunity to appear before the committee and provided some information about KCTCS compensation and salary schedules.  He showed the members a powerpoint presentation which began by explaining House Bill 1 of 1997 which dealt with the reform of higher education in Kentucky.  Dr. McCall said that House Bill 1 protected the rights of employees by allowing them to remain under the former personnel rules or to take a one-time opportunity to go under the KCTCS personnel rules.

 

Dr. McCall emphasized that the KCTCS vision was to create, by the year 2020, a comprehensive community and technical college system recognized as the nation’s best.  He feels that KCTCS will achieve this goal long before the year 2020 and offered progress in this area to-date.  Dr. McCall explained that when KCTCS was established it had three personnel systems.  He said on July 1, 1998 there was no one under KCTCS personnel rules, 36 percent were under KRS 18A/151B personnel rules, and 64 percent under University of Kentucky (UK) personnel rules.  He said by July 1, 2002, 46 percent people were under KCTCS personnel rules, 19 percent under 18A/151B personnel rules, and 35 percent under the UK personnel rules.  Dr. McCall also explained that employees can opt over at any time, anywhere, without any coercion or force to opt to KCTCS personnel system, but 46 chose to opt over on their own free will.

 

Dr. McCall said KCTCS administers three personnel systems, but within each one of those, there is a system for faculty and staff, so it really means administering six personnel systems.  He said KCTCS faculty employees are primarily there to teach and the remainder of personnel are staff.

 

Dr. McCall identified the successes of KCTCS as follows:

·        Enrollment -- increased from 43,000 on July 1, 1998, to 63,000 last fall with a projection of 65,000 this fall.

·        Information Technology -- implemented a unique and one of a kind in the nation people database system that tracks every single action and transaction with employees, alumni, and students of all colleges.

·        Consolidation – integrated 13 community colleges and 15 technical colleges and organized them into 16 different geographic regions across the state with all colleges moving toward a single accreditation of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

·        Workforce Development – implemented Kentucky Workforce Investment Network System (WINS) program.  KCTCS administers a trust fund to address the needs of workforce for new industries and expanding existing industries in Kentucky.

·        Academic Programs – Technical colleges all offer degrees and over 600 new programs have been approved by the Board of Regents and most in the occupation/technical area.  KCTCS is addressing the need and fulfilling the intent of House Bill 1.

·        Employee Salaries and Benefits – Salary increases are affected by numerous factors including statutory mandates (House Bill 1 has provisions that KCTCS provide a salary increase to 18A/151B employees equivalent to state government as well as provide benefits equivalent to UK.  Employees’ salaries are impacted by the budget, board of regent’s policies including rewarding performance and market-driven positions, local community needs, and fairness to all employees.

 

Dr. McCall noted that the base salary increases for the three different personnel systems have varied since 1997.  He said cumulative totals amount to 27.6 percent for KRS 18A/151B employees, 31.2 percent for former UK employees, and 20.4 percent for employees in the KCTCS personnel system.  Dr. McCall said that KCTCS compared to the eight other higher education institutions has provided the largest salary increases to employees resulting in a 29.8 percent increase.

 

Dr. McCall said there are other salary adjustments that are made for employees.  He noted that one adjustment included expanded responsibilities for personnel resulting from the consolidation of 28 colleges into 16.  Dr. McCall said that gender equity has been a major initiative as females were getting paid less than males and performing the same jobs.  He explained that salary adjustments were made for the females in addition to their base salary increases.  He said market competition has driven KCTCS to seek the best faculty and staff and salary adjustments were made to compensate these employees.  Dr. McCall stated that benchmark comparisons established in House Bill 1 compare Kentucky to nine other states and this determines how funds are distributed to higher education.  He also stated that all faculty are entitled to academic promotions.

 

Dr. McCall said there is an academic promotion policy in KCTCS.  He said all technical college faculty that had been previously employed in state government now have academic titles and each employee is entitled to complete a process in order to be promoted and earn a higher credential.  Dr. McCall said other factors in academic promotion include the employee’s experience, both work and teaching, professional activities, minimum time in previous rank, leadership skills, references, and each employee is subject to a peer review.  He stated that over 1,200 faculty employees have been promoted in the last four years. 

 

Dr. McCall said that benefits play an important role in an employee’s compensation package.  He said there are differences in retirement plans, leave policies, life insurance, compensatory time, and holidays for the three different personnel systems.  Dr. McCall also explained that KCTCS employees have seen their benefits increase from 21 percent to 25 percent of an employee’s base salary.

 

Dr. McCall discussed compensation goals for 2002-2003.  He said fair compensation for all employees was crucial to KCTCS, but there were some unique driving factors such as a budget reduction and changes in UK health benefits that impacted compensation.  Dr. McCall said another goal of KCTCS is to enhance the KCTCS personnel system by protecting the past but building for the future.  He said the final goal of KCTCS is to reward performance.

 

Dr. McCall said the fair compensation for 2002-2003 is 2.7 percent on average in compensation.  He emphasized that compensation is salary plus benefits.  He emphasized that current enhancements to the KCTCS personnel system included a 0.3 percent salary increase, 1.1 percent benefit increase, and three credit hours free tuition for spouse and dependent children at KCTCS.  Dr. McCall noted that all employees are eligible for nonrecurring merit bonuses based on performance.

 

Dr. McCall stressed that KCTCS is fulfilling the promises made in House Bill 1 on a daily basis.  He said this includes protecting the rights of employees, complying with statutory mandates, and providing fair compensation.  He noted that employees are always allowed the one-time option to change over to the KCTCS personnel system.  Dr. McCall also said that KCTCS will continue to build its system and work on the KCTCS compensation study.

 

Dr. McCall said that KCTCS has employed the Mercer Human Resource Consulting firm to provide KCTCS with a scope of study for data collection, market analysis, best practices, gap/overlap analysis, and benchmark comparisons.  He said the study will be completed by November 2002 and Interim Joint Committee on Education members will receive a copy of the completed study.

 

Dr. McCall said Senator Westwood asked him to compare Kentucky’s laws governing salary schedules with nine benchmark and other contiguous states.  He said ten of 13 states have salaries delegated to the institution, two states have no statutory mandates, and West Virginia is the only state that has a salary schedule that is in law.  Dr. McCall concluded that ten neighboring states delegate developing personnel rules to the board of regents.

 

Dr. McCall introduced Ms. Cynthia Read, KCTCS Board of Regents.  Ms. Read said the board of regents’ general powers and duties are outlined in statute and are the same as other universities in the state of Kentucky.  She said the duties are taken very seriously and she feels the record shows that the duties and responsibilities have been executed to fulfill the intent of House Bill 1. 

 

Ms. Read said there are some issues different from the other universities including inheriting personnel systems and the charge of creating a new system.  She said the record shows that the KCTCS board of regents values employees, provides ample pay raises, and is consistently moving the system forward. 

 

Representative Marzian asked how many employees are still in the 18A/151B system.  Dr. McCall said about 670 employees are currently in that system which are the Kentucky Tech employees.  Representative Marzian commended the work that KCTCS did with gender equity and asked how they determined job categories.  Dr. McCall said a study was completed to see where individuals were, what type of jobs they were performing, and analyzed male/female pay which was out of balance.  Representative Marzian asked how the pay raises were implemented.  Dr. McCall said salary adjustments were made for the females who were making less money for performing the same jobs as their male counterparts.

 

Representative Siler applauded the KCTCS administrators for a job well done.  He said salary and benefits have been a problem with this system since the beginning of House Bill 1 in 1997.  He also feels that it will take numerous retirements to ever fully correct the current personnel issues.  Representative Siler supported the idea of an arbitration panel to act as a third party for employees to file their grievances.  Dr. McCall said the study is going to look at practices and make recommendations and a third party panel could very well be considered.  Dr. McCall also said that there is currently a third party appeal process in place for KCTCS employees.  Representative Siler encouraged Dr. McCall to make employees aware that the panel exists.

 

Representative Collins asked Dr. McCall if KCTCS has any retirement projection numbers.  Dr. McCall said it would take 20 years to get everyone in the system retired.  He also said there is a total of 3,600 people in the system at this time.  Representative Collins asked about the percentage of programs that KCTCS expects to move to the degree program.  Dr. McCall discussed transfer block agreements which takes students in a block and moves them over to a research university and transfers them in as a junior.  He said there is no course by course transfer over for vocational students to the rest of the educational system and he would like to make that possibility a reality.  Representative Collins asked if UK health policies cost more that the insurance benefits of KCTCS.  He wondered if there were differences in allowances?  Dr. McCall explained that former UK employees have their insurance administered by the University of Kentucky.  UK also contributed an additional amount toward family health care plans.  Dr. McCall said all KCTCS employees are encouraged to participate in the state provided health plan.  Mr. Ken Walker, Vice President of Finance at KCTCS, said 1.1 percent is a dollar figure that represents a percent of UK’s salary base provided by KCTCS for the former UK employees.  Representative Collins asked if the UK insurance was a better insurance with stronger allowances.  Dr. McCall said that UK does pay more to provide additional benefits to family health care plans.

 

Senator Jones made the comment that he has received vast e-mails from KCTCS employees concerned about salary increases.  He asked Dr. McCall the cost of administering three separate personnel systems.  Dr. McCall said KCTCS has a personnel staff that administers the three systems and they do not separate it out cost wise.  Senator Jones asked Dr. McCall if KCTCS has any specific plans to alleviate these employee concerns.  Dr. McCall said the Mercer compensation study should help give KCTCS a broader picture of salaries, but fair is in the eye of the beholder and fair to one employee means equal to everybody else and this is not a viable solution.

 

Representative Collins reminded the members that the legislature promised to let employees choose their own personnel system in House Bill 1.  He said these promises relieved the concerns of employees coming into the KCTCS system even though it can be difficult to administer.

 

Senator Neal suggested the members look at the KCTCS personnel issue again to determine if there are legitimate discrepancies between the systems.  He said a resolution should be sought to bring more rationale to the system without having to break any promises to the people.

 

Dr. McCall mentioned that all the differences in the personnel system are posted in the KCTCS website.  He said the site shows comparisons item by item and there are major differences in the systems.

 

Representative Marzian mentioned that employees can switch personnel systems at any time.  She said there are pros and cons to each system and employees can not get everything they want in times of a constrained budget.

 

Senator Casebier thanked the administrators of KCTCS for continuing discussion on the issues of KCTCS salary schedules and personnel issues.  He referred back to the session of 1997, and said this same issue revolved around turf battles.  He does not want this issue to backfire on teachers in the field.  Senator Casebier has received numerous e-mails from KCTCS employees concerned about personnel issues specifically salary increases.  He reminded the committee that in 1997 he stood up against members of his own leadership in order to pass House Bill 1.  He also said he received opposition from his own constituents at the time as well.    He made his constituents a promise that House Bill 1 and preserving three different personnel systems was the best thing to do at the time while always continuing to work on creating a system that would treat everyone equally.  Senator Casebier told Dr. McCall and Ms. Read that he appreciated their willingness to continue this dialogue and he urged Senator Westwood, KCTCS administrators, AFT, and other interested parties to keep up the dialogue and keep all parties at the table.  He is committed to seeing the dialogue continued and getting to the point where there are no winners or losers, but all parties find an amicable solution.  Senator Casebier feels that employee performance is lower when morale is affected.  He understands both sides from the classroom and the administrative perspective.  He feels his role right now as a legislator is to facilitate conversation between both sides.

 

Senator Westwood discussed the spirit and intent of House Bill 1 and said KCTCS employees feel that they are receiving a penalty for staying under their former personnel policies because they are losing benefits.  Dr. McCall said he feels KCTCS is honoring and implementing the spirit of House Bill 1 while protecting employees and building a new system.

 

Representative Treesh asked if the 2.7 percent salary increase implemented by KCTCS is at the individual or at the aggregate level.  Dr. McCall said each individual receives 2.7 percent increase, but high performers based on employee evaluations can receive a one-time merit bonus.

 

Senator Westwood introduced Dr. Barbara Ashley, Executive Director, Kentucky Community College Faculty Alliance, and Mr. Charles Wells, Executive Director, AFT of Kentucky.  Mr. Wells said AFT is the largest representative of faculty and staff in KCTCS and the largest representative of postsecondary education faculty and staff in the nation.  He said AFT continues to support the goals set forth during the 1997 special legislative session on Postsecondary Education.

 

Mr. Wells said Kentucky deserves to have the best postsecondary education system in the nation.  He believes that KCTCS has the ability to achieve this goal by attracting and retaining highly qualified employees.  Mr. Wells discussed that employees receive floor salary increases and not ceiling.  He said KCTCS is attempting to bribe 18A and 151 employees into giving up their statutory personnel protections.  Mr. Wells explained that KCTCS fought and killed a legislative proposal by AFT to expand tuition waivers to families of all employees for use at any public university in Kentucky.  He explained that KCTCS will only pay for KCTCS employees’ spouses and children to receive free credit hours at KCTCS and employees who refuse to give up their statutory personnel protections are denied this service.

 

Mr. Wells said the few 18A/151B and former UK employees who agreed to give up their statutory rights to join KCTCS feel the impact of the compensation disparity has been devastating to morale.  He said AFT members who work for KCTCS want the system to succeed.  Mr. Wells said all KCTCS employees should enjoy equal respect, equal rights, equal benefits, and fair treatment from the administration regardless of which branch of the personnel system they work in.

 

Dr. Barbara Ashley said research has begun with the benchmark states of Arkansas, Connecticut, Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia to look at standard operating procedures used by postsecondary institutions relating to personnel and compensation and what laws if any govern salary schedules.  Ms. Ashley said six of the states have provided information and while very few have salary schedules in law, legislators are very active in other ways such as in collective bargaining in four states for public employees. 

 

Dr. Ashley said sampling has been provided of contract language for community and technical colleges from the benchmark states that have salary schedules specified and those salary schedules are legally binding for the duration of the contracts which is typically three to four years.  She said in the state of Virginia, legislators set salary schedule guidelines in its biennial budget.  The Virginia Human Resources System administers the pay system.  Dr. Ashley said Arkansas employees are on salary scales determined by the legislature and they receive an annual, across-the-board raise.

 

Dr. Ashley said the 2002-2003 pay scales have created unrest among employees.  She said the technical employees that transferred into the system from the Workforce Development Cabinet receive a 2.7 percent increase with no increase in health care coverage, former UK employee receive a 1.6 percent pay increase and receive a 1.1 increase in health care benefits for family plans only, and KCTCS employees get a 3.0 percent salary increase in addition to a 1.1 percent increase in benefits for a total compensation package increase of 4.1 percent.  Dr. Ashley said the current system penalizes long-term employees.  She said employees do not want to give up statutory protections in order to obtain the benefits of the minor pay raises in KCTCS system.  Dr. Ashley believes the current system violates the spirit of House Bill 1. 

 

Dr. Ashley said salary increases for top administration of KCTCS is again utilizing a different system to determine pay increases.  She cannot explain how they were determined just that they are different from the other faculty and staff at KCTCS.

 

Dr. Ashley said employees have voiced that KCTCS has shown discrimination in giving different pay raise amounts to the three groups and if KCTCS really wants people to switch over to their system they should offer benefits in statute that protect basic academic rights.  She said employees want the KCTCS pay system removed from the KCTCS administration’s control.

 

Representative Collins said a system needs to be created where everyone receives the same increases in all areas across-the-board.

 

Senator Westwood introduced Dr. James Applegate, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Council on Postsecondary Education, and Mr. Roger Brady, Superintendent, Campbell County Schools.

 

Dr. Applegate thanked the legislators for their help in improving educational levels across Kentucky and improving the economy and communities through P-16 partnerships.  He said there is work going on at the state and local levels.

 

Dr. Applegate said P-16 councils are on the nation’s agenda as a key strategy to improve the lives of citizens.  He said Kentucky’s P-16 council was created in the spring of 1999 and is currently made up of representatives of the Early Childhood Development Authority, Kentucky Board of Education, Council on Postsecondary Education, Educational Professional Standards Board, and the Workforce Development Cabinet. 

 

Dr. Applegate said the state council has focused its efforts in three major areas:  1) alignment of curricula and standards; 2) teacher quality; and 3) transition – moving a diverse group of students up the education ladder.  He said all students should know the value of an education and be equipped to pursue it.

 

Dr. Applegate said the state P-16 council has endorsed the principle that one high school curriculum should be offered to every student in Kentucky as the default curriculum to prepare them for college and/or the workplace.  He said the belief now is that some type of postsecondary education is essential and that option should be available for everybody.  He said teams are being formed to see how this alignment can occur.  Dr. Applegate also said Kentucky is participating in a project called the American Diploma Project sponsored by the National Alliance of Business. This project focuses on the GED, College Placement Test, High School Program of Studies, and CATS to see how the tests coordinate and find out where the gaps are.  He said this study also shows what Kentucky legally can do in terms of fairness and equity.  He also said there is a study being completed at the national level to tell Kentucky what businesses think a high school diploma should mean.  Dr. Applegate feels that by next spring the P-16 council will be ready to make recommendations to the Council on Postsecondary Education on what changes need to be made.

 

Dr. Applegate mentioned the Kentucky Early Math Placement Test that is available on-line to allow high school sophomores and juniors to see where they stand in relation to being prepared for college in math and what kind of help they need.  He said students can obtain help from that site from their high schools or go directly to Kentucky Virtual University and receive on-line tutoring.

 

Dr. Applegate said they are integrating the MAX data system to track teachers entering and leaving the profession to find improvements for teacher recruitment and retention.  He said the Educational Professional Standards Board’s new report card will be used for teacher preparation programs at all postsecondary institutions.  He said the Council on Postsecondary Education will use this report card to measure the success of universities and ensure they are meeting the demands of providing good, quality teachers.

 

Dr. Applegate said the P-16 council is working on a Gear-Up grant for Kentucky for $21 million dollars over five years to work with the poorest middle schools and work with economically disadvantaged students in the middle schools to ensure they receive the preparation needed and a scholarship to attend college.  He hopes this grant will touch 20,000 students.

 

Dr. Applegate said accountability has been put into the P-16 councils.  He said there is a set of accountability measures such as ACT scores, ACT participation, number of college level courses taken, number of students taking the core curriculum, and high school scores such as CATS that should be improved because of the P-16 council efforts.

 

Senator Westwood asked how many states have P-16 councils in place.  Dr. Applegate said 24 states across the country have the councils.

 

Mr. Brady wants to improve the percentage of students who go someplace and stay after high school whether it be a successful transition to college, vocational education, or the workplace.  He discussed curriculum committees at the local level who are trying to close the gaps between transitions in students’ educational paths.

 

Mr. Brady said accountability is high because every partner in the Council of Partners pays to become a member.  He said it costs a district in Northern Kentucky about $20,000 a year to be a member.  He also said the recent hiring of an executive director, Dr. Barbara Stonewater, was a bonus for the Council of Partners.

 

Senator Westwood reminded the members that the next meeting will be held on September 9, 2002 at 10:00 a.m.

 

The meeting adjourned at 12:15 p.m.