A ROW over proposals to merge Halton College with Widnes and Run-corn Sixth Form College looks like reaching boiling point after campaigners claim finance not education is at the forefront of the plans.
Retired teacher Mark Wasenczuk, who worked at the Sixth Form College for 30 years, is adamant the takeover is not in the best interest of students, despite it being backed by two MPs and the colleges' principals.
Halton MP Derek Twigg and Weaver Vale MP Mike Hall joined forces with David Jones, acting principal of Widnes and Runcorn Sixth Form College, and Alan Harrison, interim principle/chief executive of Halton College, to show a united front against the claims of Mr Wasenczuk and his army of protesters who this week submitted a 300-plus name petition to Paula Edwards, senior strategy manager for the Learning and Skills Council for Greater Merseyside (LSCGM ).
Mr Wasenczuk said: 'Political and economical expediency have driven this outrageous proposal.
Mr Wasenszuk said: 'There is silence fromthegovernors, fromtheLSCGMand from the local authority, as to why this type of merger was forced through at the last minute by the intervention of Sue Price of the LSCGM.'
The retired teacher also claims the 'people' pushing the proposal have not takeninto accountthecreeping'leakage' to Carmel College by Widnes students.
He claims Carmel College has been recruiting 'aggressively' and is attracting 'top quality' students from Wade Deacon High School, which he says will cause a rush for places which will have a major impact on the new college.
Despite Mr Wasenczuk's fears, Mr Twigg and Mr Hall 'strongly support' the proposals.
A joint letter stated: 'The proposed amalgamation is the best way forward for the future and delivery of post-16 education in Halton.
'It will ensure that 16-19 provision better organised, planned and delivered for the benefit of the community as a whole.'
Campaigners also claim the Cronton site would be 'asset stripped' and sold on - a claim both principals have rejected.