- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 12, 2015

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Some state lawmakers are reviving an idea to merge the University of Wisconsin System’s 13 two-year colleges with the Wisconsin Technical College System’s 16 technical college districts in an effort to cut duplication and save tax money.

On Wednesday, a group of Assembly Republicans chaired by Rep. Terry Katsma will begin considering the proposal to reshape public higher education in Wisconsin.

The idea to merge the systems was initiated by lawmakers, and not the University of Wisconsin or Wisconsin Technical College systems, but no legislation has been drafted, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (https://bit.ly/1MobtTX ) reported.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told the newspaper on Tuesday that Rep. Dave Murphy came to him and proposed taking a closer look at ways to find efficiencies and coordinate services to better serve students.

“The goal is to have legislators study these issues and determine whether the merger is worth considering.”



Murphy is chairman of the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities.

“It’s not uncommon to look at issues and look for efficiencies,” Murphy said. “My impression is both (UW Colleges and the technical college system) have done a pretty good job. I would be hesitant to change anything unless someone showed me a compelling reason, like tremendous savings.”

The potential for such a merger has been broached over the years, but it hasn’t been publicly studied.

In 2003, lawmakers questioned whether there was unnecessary duplication of services between the two systems and requested a state audit, which apparently wasn’t done.

Last year, officials with the UW System and Wisconsin Technical College System signed an agreement identifying up to 48 core credits that students may transfer within or between the two systems.

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Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, https://www.jsonline.com

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