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Tuesday, December 29, 2009 - 11:56am

Lawmakers Eye School Mergers

With the new legislative session set to begin in January, lawmakers are considering several changes to education programs around the state.

One of the most controversial proposals is merging Georgia’s technical schools with its community colleges.

Georgia’s technical schools are run by an independent agency, separate from the Board of Regents. Tech schools prepare students to enter the work force whereas students at Community Colleges are prepared to transfer to a university. A recommendation made to the governor by an educational task force calls for those two types of schools to be combined.

Randy Pierce is the president of Georgia Highlands Community College. He says the missions of the two types of schools are so different that a merger would be a mistake.

"Concentrating those missions in separate agencies has been one of the things that has been a very positive aspect of higher education in the state of Georgia," says Pierce.

Officials with the Board of Regents say there are no plans for a merger now. Last year some lawmakers expressed interest in a merger but it wasn’t approved.