A proposal to create a single board to oversee Maine’s three institutions of higher education got a chilly reception at a public hearing on Wednesday.

The bill, L.D. 180, would do away with the boards of trustees that currently oversee the University of Maine System, the Maine Community College System and the Maine Maritime Academy. They would be replaced by a single “Board of Trustees of Higher Education” that would oversee all the colleges.

Bill co-sponsor Rep. Trey Stewart, R-Presque Isle, said the bill was being amended to address concerns, but said the intent is to “fuse these organizations together.”

Several speakers at the hearing before the Legislature’s Education Committee said they were concerned a single board would not serve the three organization’s distinct missions, student bodies and educational goals. They also noted that the organizations already work collaboratively.

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