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Idaho kills NIC board-expansion bill

THURSDAY, FEB. 2, 2012, 12:13 P.M.

BOISE - All three of Idaho’s community colleges strongly opposed legislation designed to expand their boards and impose new residency rules on the additional members, and after hearing from them this morning, the House Education Committee killed the bill.

Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, proposed the measure; he had 22 legislative cosponsors.

But college officials, including North Idaho College President Priscilla Bell and NIC’s trustees, said the move was unneeded and would be costly and disruptive for the schools.

Henderson said he’s received more than 40 emails from people who want more representation from “the outlying areas” when community college boards vote on budgets and taxes.

His bill, HB 411, would have expanded the boards of NIC, the College of Southern Idaho and the College of Western Idaho from five to seven members, while requiring the two new NIC trustees to come from outside the Coeur d’Alene school district; the two new CWI trustees to come from Canyon County; and the two new CSI trustees to be one each from Jerome County and from Twin Falls County west of Highway 93.

CSI trustee Karl Kleinkopf told the committee, “It’s worked good for us for 46 years. I meet monthly over at Jerome. … Let me tell you, if there’s something they want from Jerome County, I hear about it. … I think we do a heck of a job representing everyone.”

NIC trustee Judy Meyer told lawmakers, “There’s no need to grow government in these lean times.”

Rep. Pete Nielsen, R-Mountain Home, defended the bill, saying, “This is an agricultural state. It is moving fastly towards urban control and that’s what we don’t want to have happen.”

The committee killed the bill on an 11-6 vote.

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