NC Legislature's Panel Endorses Community College Changes

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- A proposal to merge the smallest North Carolina community colleges with large neighbors has been endorsed by a legislative committee, but the changes are still a long way from happening.

An oversight panel endorsed Wednesday the recommendations of the Legislature's watchdog agency, despite opposition to the merger idea from college leaders. A report released last month estimated community colleges could save $5 million annually by merging the administration at 15 small colleges into bigger campuses. The report also suggested a purchasing cooperative to cut costs.

None of the campuses would close. Twenty of the state's 58 community colleges already run multiple campuses.

The idea now heads to a General Assembly education committee and the Legislature's fiscal staff. The full Legislature and possibly the governor would have to back the idea.

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