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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A proposal to consolidate community colleges in the state has many college leaders split on the idea. The General Assembly’s Program Evaluation Division says merging several colleges into a larger neighboring school would save about $5 million a year.

“I think it would be devastating to our rural areas in North Carolina,” Southeastern Community College President Dr. Kathy Matlock said. “With this merger the colleges would very much lose identity and most importantly, the students would lose access.”

According to the proposal schools with fewer than 3,000 full time students would lose their separate presidents, payroll departments and other support staff in the merger.

Cape Fear Community College is the fifth largest community college in the state. President Dr. Eric McKeithan says that if the merger can save money while keeping the same level of services to students, it would be beneficial.

“It would really be more political than anything else,” McKeithan said. “It would be at least the feeling by some that they were losing control of their institution, whereas I don’t think necessarily that all those fears would be justified.”

Matlock disagrees.

“Our community college system was already cut $115 million this year,” Matlock said. “Those were our cuts, so $5 million out of that when it’s impacting so many rural citizens, it just seems inconsequential.”

Twenty of the state’s 58 community colleges already run multiple campuses. CFCC is one of them with two campuses in New Hanover County and a satellite center in Burgaw.

“In my opinion, there would be no direct loss of service to students and no loss of programming, no facilities would close,” McKeithan said.

Community College System President Scott Ralls has said that the $5 million a year in savings is small compared with the disruptions the mergers would cause.

Comment on this Story

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    With a nod to Mel Brooks: “We have to protect our phoney baloney jobs here, gentlemen!”

  • SurfCityTom

    this diminishes the little empires each has domain over. This would dimish the budget numbers which they each refer to when submitting resumes seeking new posts.

    Yet the reality is if properly implemented, a central purchasing and processing system should work and reduce costs.

    No different than any other business.

  • No-Stick Coating

    Community Colleges already have central purchasing and processing dictated by the State of North Carolina. CC’s do not operate like Universities. What you will see is larger, urban CC’s priorities superseding small rural CC’s. That means fewer programs and reduced educational opportunities. In other words this will screw little folks and rural communities out of educational opportunities so that Cape Fear Community College can have another how-to-build-a-rowboat program. Lots of jobs out there for rowboat builders.

  • Guest54321

    Really? Only an uber liberal bureaucrat like Kathy Matlock would call $5 million of taxpayer money “inconsequential.” It would be a blessing if the state would pry her out of the little fiefdom she has created at SCc and let a competent administration take over.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    …her other ridiculous statement. They’re talking about getting rid of presidents, payroll, and support staff, so how in the world would THAT impact “student access?”

  • Guest54321

    Where else would she and her fellow community college presidents ply their educational doctorates in “Education Administration?”


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