- Associated Press - Thursday, July 27, 2017

FORREST CITY, Ark. (AP) - A technical institute in Arkansas plans to merge with a neighboring community college.

The board of trustees at Crowley’s Ridge Technical Institute voted 3-2 to merge with East Arkansas Community College, the Times-Herald reported . All three members who voted in favor of the merger were appointed this week by Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Before the vote board president Fredric Smith opened the floor to the technical institute’s faculty members to speak on behalf of the school.

Officials of the technical institute said they’re concerned about how the meeting was called and that they weren’t notified.

Debbie Hill, head of the technical institute’s nursing program, told members she feared students would no longer receive high-quality attention if the schools were to combine.

“I’ve taught (at EACC) and I’ve taught here,” Hill said. “I think both fulfill a need in eastern Arkansas. I’ve learned, since I’ve been here, that most of our students wouldn’t even come if ‘college’ was in the name. . You say none of the instruction will be changed, but we know that one nursing instructor will lose their job. It’s in the bill.”

Smith said the biggest concern of the merger is that no information has been provided about how the process will be handled.

It’s unclear how students who’ve already registered for classes or those who began classes Tuesday will be affected.

The community college’s board is expected to meet before Aug. 1 to accept the decision.

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Information from: Times-Herald, https://www.thnews.com/

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