Only on 12: Gov. Deal GHSU/ASU merger 'bodes very well' for city, state

State consolidation plan

The schools will be fully integrated by fall 2013 if lawmakers decide to go through with the state consolidation plan. (WRDW-TV / Jan. 9, 2012)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Jan. 9, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Talks of a merger between ASU and GHSU have been on the lips of state leaders for months.

"I know there will be a little apprehension on the part of some who graduated from the there and perhaps thinking that they are losing their identity," said Gov. Nathan Deal. "But I don't think that's the way to look at it."

Deal plans to highlight the move in his State of the State address.

"I want us to have a public medical college that is in the top 50 nationally," Deal said. "I believe that this merger will be one of those ingredients that brings us closer to that goal."

Sen. Hardie Davis agrees.

"I anticipate that it is likely to pass," said Sen. Davis, who insists alumni and friends of both schools will have input on what the institution becomes and what it is called. "I am confident that folks are going to get a chance to weigh in on this. It will not be blindly approached. Input from all across the community will be taken."

It could be a big year for education. Sources tell News 12 that lawmakers are mulling a constitutional amendment for charter school funding.

"We're going to be suggesting that the general assembly work with us to try to figure out how we re-institute the ability of charter schools who are functioning appropriately and in many cases providing a better quality of education," Deal said. "We think that is important."

Time will tell on the charter school move, but ASU/GHSU seems to be a done deal.

"I think it bodes very well for not only the Augusta area, but for the state of Georgia as a whole," Deal said.

The vote on the merger is on Tuesday. The schools will be fully integrated by fall 2013 if lawmakers decide to go through with the state consolidation plan.


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