Photo of Senator Flexer.

State Senator

Mae Flexer

Representing Brooklyn, Canterbury, Killingly, Mansfield, Putnam, Scotland, Thompson & Windham

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Flexer, Boyd Bill to Protect Community Colleges Advances

Today, a bill proposal from Senator Mae Flexer (D-Killingly) and Representative Pat Boyd (D-Brooklyn) to protect local community colleges from closures was voted to be drafted by the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee.

Senate Bill 749, “An Act Requiring Legislative Approval for the Merger or Closure of the Regional Community-Technical Colleges,” would change state law to require the General Assembly to approve any action the Board of Regents for Higher Education might take regarding merges or closures of any community colleges.

“As a proud graduate of Quinebaug Valley Community College, protecting our community college system is one of my top priorities,” said Flexer. “QVCC is a critical resource in our corner of the stats and has become an integral part of the fabric of our community. Our college’s strong connection to our community uniquely positions it to meet the needs of students and employers in our region. Unnecessarily closing any of these institutions would be detrimental to our communities and a disservice to the education of our students; we need to ensure that there is a thoughtful, thorough procedure in place, and giving the legislature a role in the process would do just that.”

“Community colleges provide affordable and quality education for the students of Connecticut and as legislators, we should be continuously working to protect them,” said State Representative Pat Boyd. “QVCC is vital to Northeastern Connecticut and this bill will ensure that the great work of community colleges cannot be threatened with closures that would only harm our community. I look forward to working with Senator Flexer and the entire NECT delegation to the General Assembly to ensure final passage”

The Connecticut Board of Regents currently has the authority to merge or close institutions within the Connecticut State University System and the regional community-technical college system. In April 2018, a plan called, “Students First” was proposed by Board of Regents President Mark Ojakian and would have merged all 12 state community colleges into one accredited body. The plan would have reduced staff system-wide by 200 positions.

The proposal was later rejected by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges but was followed by a revised proposal put forth in June that would have consolidated the 12 state community colleges in five years instead of two.

By voting to be drafted, Senate Bill 749 can be brought forward for a public hearing and is an important step in the legislative process.

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