Plan to consolidate community colleges worries employees

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NORWALK -

A plan to take the "community" out of community college prompted educators and other staff members to attend a public meeting on the issue in Norwalk Tuesday afternoon.

The proposal would consolidate the state's community college program by folding community colleges into one statewide institution.

The head of the state college system took questions from all 12 community colleges in a video conference.

"We are trying to do something that, quite honestly, is unprecedented in New England," said Mark Ojakian, the president of Connecticut's state colleges.

He said the plan would save $28 million that could be reinvested in preserving classes for students. It would keep all of the campuses open -- but it would result in cuts for administrators and support staff.

In Norwalk, many professors and other staff members told News 12 that they are worried about losing their jobs.

"Since they don't know all the details, and they haven't been worked out yet, people are very curious to see the impact," said Madeline Barillo, who works at Norwalk Community College.

Officials could vote on the proposal next month.

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