Panel approves community college trustee zones

Posted at 11:25 AM, Feb 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-01 20:39:41-05

The House State Affairs committee has given the nod to a bill that would create trustee zones for community colleges.

The measure was brought forward by Rep. Greg Chaney, R-Caldwell, in an effort to balance representation for community college boards. He said the idea came after the College of Western Idaho purchased land in Boise's West End.

"Certainly I support the idea that CWI have a permanent presence in Boise," he said. "But I just want to preserve its commitment to the rest of the Treasure Valley."

The bill would create five zones in the areas serviced by Idaho's three community colleges from which to elect board members. The election would still be "at large" allowing voters throughout the area to cast a ballot, similar to the way county commissioners are elected.

Chaney is backing this bill because he fears rural communities don't have a strong voice in their community college. Chaney says the majority of board members in each of the state's community colleges live primarily in the major city of the district.

"People from eastern Boise, where three of the five board members for CWI reside, are going to see things differently than from Kuna or Caldwell," said Chaney. "So it's important to diversify to make sure we're giving education that is relevant to the opportunities people are going to have post-graduation and have a community-responsive education system."