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OTC Officials Update Legislators

State Senator Greg Goggans and Rep. Mark Hatfield were the honored guests at Okefenokee Technical College on December 11. Both were recognized for their support of technical education and informed of major legislative issues that will impact the college and its state-affiliated agency, the Technical College System of Georgia, in the coming session.

OTC President Gail Thaxton welcomed Senator Goggans, Rep. Hatfield, OTC board directors and foundation trustees to the college. She thanked each one for taking time from their busy schedules to focus on OTC and the college’s concerns and needs moving forward. Photo 1

“One thing we can count on,” stated Thaxton, “Senator Goggans, Representatives Hatfield, Smith, and Williams will continue to support OTC, advocate for technical education, and use their influence to position the college and the Technical College System for strength and growth.”

Thaxton began by summarizing OTC’s mission – to provide quality technical education, training, and student support services – and then reported on how the college is fulfilling its mission.

She shared an overview of the issues surrounding the future of OTC and other Georgia technical colleges including changes in dual enrollment funding, budget reductions, tuition cap increase, and formula funding.  “Through all of the present challenges, Thaxton stated, “we remain future focused and positive about our mission and our impact in the community.”Photo 2

In September 2008 the Georgia legislature removed a barrier from the growth of dual enrollment programs when it changed the HOPE cap rule. Effective July 1, 2008, hours attempted by high school students enrolled in dual enrollment programs are not counted toward the credit hour cap for HOPE. However, a new stumbling block emerged when, due to a double funding issue, the legislature passed changes in which high schools no longer receive FTE funds for dual enrolled segments.

Thaxton asked those present to support dual enrollment as a statewide initiative and encourage system superintendents to continue to participate in dual enrolled programs. “These programs benefit this community and our high school students.”

Photo 1:
At a recent breakfast meeting, OTC President Gail Thaxton informed local legislators and OTC board members of upcoming legislative issues that affect Okefenokee Tech.

Photo 2:
Senator Greg Goggans (left) and Rep. Mark Hatfield (second from right) were recognized by OTC President Gail Thaxton (center), OTC Board Chair Ola Smith, and OTC Foundation Chair Larry Paulk for their support of technical education.


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