College merger meets friction;
Chairman says Barbour’s plan has no chance at success

JACKSON — Gov. Haley Barbour’s proposal to consolidate four historically black universities and merge the state’s university for women with Mississippi State University is dead on arrival at the Legislature, the chairman of a key House committee said Wednesday.

Barbour recommended the consolidation and merger of the Mississippi University for Women with Mississippi State as a cost-saving measure when he unveiled his fiscal year 2011 budget proposal in November.

Barbour said those changes, along with reducing the number of school districts from 152 to about 100, would help save $1.22 billion needed to balance the state’s budget by the 2012 fiscal year that begins on July 1, 2011.

“We don’t think that (consolidation) has got legs,” said House Universities and Colleges Committee Chairman Kelvin Buck, D-Holly Springs.

Commercial Appeal