A proposed master plan for vocational education in Utah over the next five years received a final necessary stamp of approval Tuesday with a thumbs-up from the state Board of Education.

The board approved the master plan even though it still contains elements that they would not accept in a consideration of the plan last month.Specifically, the plan transfers governance of the Salt Lake Skills Center to the state Board of Regents. The state Board of Education resisted the transfer initially but did not dwell on the issue Tuesday. The board will continue to pass through federal money that provides a significant percentage of the Skills Center financing, but state appropriations will go to the Board of Regents.

The center has operated under the aegis of Salt Lake Community College for some time, although it has remained under the supervision of the state Board of Education. Earlier, college representatives said the involvement of both levels of education created problems.

Some board members expressed discontent that their staff had not pushed their viewpoint in a meeting with a liaison committee. The board should have at least been polled, said board member M. Richard Maxfield.

Bruce Griffin, associate state superintendent, who has been co-chairman of the master plan task force, said that it is imperative that "the two boards send a strong message that they can and will handle vocational education issues."

Last month, the regents accepted the master plan. It delineates responsibility for various aspects of vocational education between higher and public education and sets up regional planning commissions to develop local annual plans.

A liaison committee representing both boards will receive the regional plans and refer them to the boards for final approval.

The plan proposes to put to rest governance battles between the two education levels regarding vocational/technical programs.