Senators Dave Hansen (Green Bay) and Janet Bewley (Ashland) criticize a GOP Assembly work group considering merger options for the UW System and tech colleges.
The two Senate Dems in a press release demanded any merger discussions happen in an open meeting. Public scrutiny, they said, is the cornerstone of the legislative process.
Hansen and Bewley are members of the Senate's Universities and Technical Colleges Committee. Hansen said in an interview despite all of the changes to the UW System, including $250 million in cuts through the budget, the committee has held only one public hearing.
He said the lack of committee action needs to stop, particularly when dealing with a topic as significant as mergers. Republicans, Hansen said, need to hear that message.
"I'm just saying to them, 'Don't sneak this through,'" he said.
The WTCS/UWS Merger Work Group began meeting this month in private to seek ways the two systems could team up to cut costs, find efficiencies and eliminate redundancies, Rep. Terry Katsma has said. But the Oostburg Republican said earlier this month the group was a long way from proposing mergers.
Katsma, the group's chairman, described the closed-door meetings as caucuses. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment today.
Hansen said he wonders what Republicans have to hide. If they put together a plan in caucus, he said, they at least should allow the public and Dems the opportunity to respond.
"I would ask of them that when they bring this forward, they provide enough notice for public hearings, maybe around the state," Hansen said.
Rep. Dana Wachs, D-Eau Claire, in an Aug. 18 press release and letter to Katsma, also asked that merger discussions take place in open meetings.
Read the press release from Hansen and Bewley:
Read Wachs' press release:
West Bend republican business leader, John Torinus, opposes merger of tech and UW colleges:
The University of Wisconsin – Washington County is 3.6 miles, or a 5-minue drive, from the large West Bend campus of Moraine Park Technical College. The two campuses have been collaborating as never before, but have very different missions. Other counties have similar side-be-side schools. Should they be merged to save a couple of bucks on administration?
Click here to read more.
UW Tech College Merger is a Bad Idea
Wisconsin’s technical college system is under attack again, and we need your help to defend it.
Five Wisconsin legislators have proposed merging Wisconsin’s technical colleges (WTCS) and the University of Wisconsin’s two- year junior colleges.
At a time when the state is facing skilled labor shortages and has fewer four- year graduates than neighboring states like Minnesota and Illinois, it is crazy to talk about merging two very different educational systems; systems that have entirely different missions, cultures and students.
Career and technical education is more expensive that liberal arts education because it requires labs with sophisticated, state of- the-art equipment and smaller pupil teacher ratios to facilitate hands-on learning. Merger advocates say their goal is to identify “efficiencies” which is a business speak for cutting costs. So in a merged system, what kinds of classes do you think would be cut first? Exactly the kinds of classes that students pursuing a career and technical education need!
Click here to read more.
Mergers-a history of failure
College Mergers Bring Big Changes But Questionable Savings
UW Education Professor: Tech College Merger will be a Disaster Without Study
The Impact of Mergers in Higher Education on Employees and Organizational Culture: A Research Paper Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Master of Science Degree In Applied Psychology
Reflections on the experience of students who are the first in their families to attend college
Local 212 Executive Board Meeting
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