Community college system stays in retirement system, delays prez interviews

VERSAILLES, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) Board of Regents received an update on the pros and cons of exiting or continuing participation within the Kentucky Employees Retirement System (KERS).

The Board adopted a resolution that authorizes KCTCS’ continuing participation in the KERS for the 385 employees who participate in the retirement system. KCTCS employs roughly 7,600 regular full-time and part-time employees throughout the state.

This decision to remain in KERS was made based on extensive research, analyses, and the development of a financial model that enabled multiple scenarios to be calculated to understand the effects of the many factors affecting a decision of whether to stay in or cease participation with KERS and each option’s resulting projected financial implications. Using the model Regents voted to continue participation with KERS. The Regents made the decision for the following reasons:

  • The decision is the least expensive – long term savings.
  • The population of KCTCS employees in KERS continues to reduce in number.
  • KCTCS remaining in KERS has a shorter employer payback period. (16 years for staying in versus 20 to 30 years depending on the buy-out option)
  • Possible budgetary relief in the future from the General Assembly.
  • KCTCS’s ethical commitment to KERS benefit plan employees.
  • Morale systemwide for KCTCS as an organization.

“After analyzing both the long-term financial and non-financial impacts, we believe this is the most ethical and best financial decision,” Henson said. “It is important that we fulfill our obligations to employees who elected to participate in KERS.”

The board also decided to postpone the KCTCS presidential search until in-person interviews with the finalists can be safely conducted. No date has been set for interviews, but finalists have been notified.

“I would like to thank all of the members of the search committee for their excellent work in reviewing the numerous applicants and narrowing the field,” said Henson. “The selection of the next KCTCS president is mission critical and the guidance of this multi-stakeholder team is essential to its success.”

Additionally, the board received on update on the new campaign for the Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship (WRKS).  The campaign launched on November 9th and is designed to boost education and employability among adults.  It is a partnership between KCTCS and ten other organizations.

“We are proud to be the lead partner on this timely campaign,” said KCTCS Board of Regents Chair Gail R. Henson. “This scholarship is critical to assisting adults who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 and need to go back to school to get trained quickly for a new high wage, high demand career.”

The scholarship, which began in 2017, offers up to 60 hours of free tuition for anyone who has not yet earned an associate’s or higher degree. It covers a wide variety of technical programs in health care, manufacturing, business/IT, construction/skilled trades, and transportation/logistics. Over 350 courses are currently available. Funded by the Kentucky Lottery, the majority of courses are provided by KCTCS’s 16 colleges.

The new campaign features a hotline number (833-711-WRKS) that adults can call to receive assistance from college advisors on how to enroll in the program. Other components include special events, paid media and a Work Ready website (workreadyky.com) that includes a live chat function.

Hip-hop artist Buffalo “B.” Stille of the Nappy Roots is the campaign spokesperson and created a rap about the scholarship that is featured in all the advertising.

In other business, the board:

  • Ratified 41 certificate programs.
  • Approved 6,978 academic credential requests between July 18, 2020 – October 2, 2020 (associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates).  These credentials include:
    • 4,658 candidates for certificates;
    • 381 candidates for diplomas; and
    • 1,939 candidates for associate degrees.

The next meeting of the KCTCS Board of Regents is scheduled for March 19, 2021 at the KCTCS System Office in Versailles.

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