LITTLE ROCK — The board of trustees of Pulaski Technical College in North Little Rock voted unanimously Wednesday to approve joining the University of Arkansas System.

LITTLE ROCK — The board of trustees of Pulaski Technical College in North Little Rock voted unanimously Wednesday to approve joining the University of Arkansas System.


The merger will need the approval of the UA System’s board, which is expected to consider the proposal when it meets May 25 and 26 at Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas in De Queen.


University of Arkansas System President Donald Bobbitt first approached Pulaski Tech President Margaret Ellibee earlier this year about a possible merger of the college with the UA System, according to a Pulaski Tech news release. Bobbitt addressed Pulaski Tech’s board about the idea in March.


"Going forward, this provides this college with opportunity to have that quality education continue in new and dynamic ways. It provides us with savings and resources that we don’t have currently. Costs are increasing, and revenues are staying the same," Ellibee said Wednesday, according to the release.


College Registrar Catherine DeVito spoke at Wednesday’s meeting on behalf of the college’s Staff Senate. She said the staff supports joining the UA System but has concerns about retirement plans.


About 125 employees of the two-year technical college are part of the Arkansas Teacher Retirement Plan, which the UA System does not participate in. Another 170 employees are in privately managed retirement plans for which the college’s contribution rate is 10 percent. The UA System offers a 6 percent match.


Ellibee said the transition teams will address those concerns.


"What we would like to do is have our employees in those systems be able to continue in their plans. New employees would be diverted to those other options that the U of A plan offers," she said.


Sherry Young, Pulaski Tech’s associate vice president for human resources, said Pulaski Tech employees would benefit from opportunities available through the UA System, such as discounts on home and auto insurance, a wellness program and a program that provides a nationwide in-network policy, ensuring an employee will be covered if he or she seeks medical attention out of state.


Pulaski Technical College was established in 1945 in Little Rock as the Little Rock Vocational School. It became Pulaski Vocational Technical School in 1969, and in 1976 it moved to its present location in North Little Rock. It became a technical college in 1991 when the state Legislature created the Arkansas Technical and Community College System.


The school reported in January that about 7,000 students were enrolled for the spring semester.