Posts tagged: North Idaho College
Lawmakers brought up a longtime sore spot during North Idaho College’s budget hearing at the state Legislature this morning: Why does the Coeur d’Alene community college get so much of its funding from property tax, compared to the state's other two community colleges, and why do only Kootenai County residents pay that tax, when NIC serves all five of the North Idaho Panhandle counties? Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint – who is from Bonner County - said, “That’s been an ongoing question from Kootenai County legislators for a long time.”
The College of Western Idaho charges property taxes in Ada and Canyon counties, but its service area also includes all or part of eight other counties. The College of Southern Idaho gets property taxes from Twin Falls and Jerome counties, but also serves all or part of eight others. NIC President Joe Dunlap said the 1982 formula that distributes liquor tax funds from the non-property tax counties to community colleges based on enrollment from those counties' residents is due for an update; the state’s community colleges are working with the Idaho Association of Counties on possible changes. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
North Idaho College has seen its funding burden shift more and more to its students, college President Priscilla Bell told Idaho lawmakers today. “As with most higher education institutions, NIC has experienced significant growth in enrollment over the past four years,” she said, even as state funding has dropped. NIC's for-credit student population has increased by 45 percent in four years; professional-technical education enrollment has grown “by a whopping 68 percent,” Bell told the Legislature's joint budget committee. Now, both student tuition and fees and local property taxes exceed state funding as a portion of NIC's budget.
“More and more, the funding burden is shifting to our students,” Bell said. “This is also reflected in our students taking on more debt. … We're very worried about the amount of debt our students are incurring, which on average, over the last few years, has doubled.” Bell said the typical NIC student now leaves the two-year community college with $3,200 in debt. “It is alarming,” she said. Her budget pitch to lawmakers today came as all three of the state's community colleges made their budget appeals; you can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
Mark Browning, the chief communications and legislative officer for the Idaho State Board of Education, has been named the new vice president for community relations and marketing at North Idaho College. He was selected after a nationwide search, to replace retiring Vice President John Martin. Browning has been with the state board since 2007; prior to that, he was news director for KBCI CBS 2 News Boise, where he supervised a staff of 40; he also worked at other news organizations in southern Idaho and is a former president of the Idaho Press Club.
NIC President Priscilla Bell said Browning will serve as a “liaison between the college and the counties we serve,” and added, “His extensive experience in government relations will no doubt reinforce NIC's legislative efforts as well.” Browning said, “This is a tremendous opportunity for me professionally and for my family. And I'm looking forward to becoming a part of the NIC family.” He'll start his new job on Jan. 2.