Crowley's Ridge Technical Institute a step closer to merger with East AR Community College

Crowley's Ridge Technical Institute

Big educational changes could be on the way for students in eastern Arkansas. Governor Hutchinson is pushing for a merger of two higher learning institutions, Crowley's Ridge Technical Institute and East Arkansas Community College.

CRIT instructor Tim Astin told Channel 7 News he opposes the merger.

"The people who were on the governor's board today need to visit eastern Arkansas and see what is really going on over there," Astin said.

Governor Hutchinson's spokesman J.R. Davis said the merger would make education in eastern Arkansas more efficient.

"This is the greatest benefit for the students to take it. Not only would the courses they take right now still be offered, but they'll have more benefits and services than people would normally get because it is a state school at this point," Davis said. "There are a lot of misconceptions that there are going to be budgets that will be cut, or people won't keep their jobs, or students won't be able to transfer. Course credits and things like that. None of that is true, it is actually the opposite. "

CRIT Interim President David Barn said the merger would be detrimental to students and the community.

"The vocational end of it seems to go away after a certain number of years, then it is all education. Everybody is not meant to take courses in higher education," Barn said.

Davis said the governor's proposed decision would do the opposite.

"We don't want to take away from the technical vocational education in Arkansas. That is huge for what we do. Just like you said before, not only from an economic standpoint [but] giving these students and opportunity to succeed. That's what we think this will do," Davis said.

CRTI Assistant Director,Sandra Taylor told Channel 7 News that decision makers have to understand the dynamic of CRTI students.

"I am looking for student satisfaction, this is my hometown. This is where I am living. This is where my grandchildren are in school. This is where my daughter has gone to school. This is me!," Taylor said.

According to the governor's office, they hope to move the decision making process along and be able to merge the schools by next fall.

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