What’s taking place at NIC is a blazing wake-up call for voters.

Local elections, most especially, have a direct impact on you, your family and our community. The course the KCRCC Three — Todd Banducci, Greg McKenzie and Michael Barnes on the North Idaho College Board of Trustees — are on is leading to the potential loss of the college’s accreditation, and the potential destruction of North Idaho College.

The behavior of these three has already caused the accreditation committee to demand good governance standards be followed by the Board. They have also required a formal report documenting compliance with governance standards.

Ignoring the warning of highly experienced attorneys Marc Lyon, the board’s attorney and Ken Howard, a fellow board member, they moved forward with their reckless, toxic partisan tactics. In their decision to rescind the college president’s mask mandate without following policy change procedure, they have violated accreditation standards, and have put lives at risk.

Keep in mind, beyond the Libertarian (RINOs) limited concept of government, the purpose of government is to protect and encourage life. Mask mandates are believed to protect life. Acquiring education is one means to ensure one can provide food, shelter and other life-preserving necessities. Each of these objectives is aligned with this purpose for government.

Based on their threatening behavior, one question comes to mind: “Do these three individuals understand their role as a trustee?” The answer appears to be a resounding “no!”

To explain: The college’s long-standing accreditation allows the institution to award degrees and certificates for numerous programs. Losing accreditation will have severe consequences for current students. It would discourage future students and it would be detrimental to our local businesses that depend on NIC to produce a skilled workforce.

Some examples of the benefits that would be lost to our community should NIC lose its accreditation are:

THE NIC NURSING PROGRAM: This program is considered the best in the state of Idaho. The program directly feeds graduates to our area hospitals, private medical offices and care centers that serve our growing population.

CAREER TECHNICAL PROGRAMS: The Parker Toyota Technical Center provides skilled labor in such fields as welding, automotive technology, construction technology, machining, computer-aided design and health industries such as practical nursing, dental hygiene, medical assistant, pharmacy technology, physical therapist and surgical technology.

BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONAL PROGRAMS: The law enforcement academy, firefighters academy, business management, culinary arts, graphic web design and paralegal are also programs that feed our community a skilled workforce. Having been put together by local elected officials and law enforcement professionals, the loss of the Peace Officers Standards and Training Academy would be a noticeable and costly loss for North Idaho. Without local law enforcement training, recruitment issues would likely result.

THE TRANSFER PROGRAMS: These are dual enrollment programs for high school students in areas like English, math and science that allow a student to seamlessly transfer credits from NIC to higher-education institutions such as the University of Idaho and Lewis-Clark State College, located near the NIC campus. One of the key advantages of having an accredited local college is cost savings, as students can accomplish an associate’s degree through a Ph.D. here in Kootenai County without suffering the expense of obtaining higher education in another area.

NIC has served this community since 1933. It was created through the sheer determination of residents of North Idaho communities during the heart of the Great Depression. Families could not afford to send their children away for higher education.

Multiple generations of families have relied on North Idaho College to provide them an affordable, accessible, quality education. NIC and our community have been blessed with having had some highly skilled and dedicated board members, presidents including the college’s current president, Dr. Rick MacLennan, and likewise faculty and staff.

It is a true shame three individuals are placing in jeopardy all the work done to build and maintain NIC’s respect-worthy reputation, its accreditation and the many benefits Kootenai County enjoys by having a local accredited college.

The partisan, radical conduct of Banducci and his two henchmen is a perfect example of why voters need to reject the candidate promotions of Brent Regan’s KCRCC. Watching another high school dropout get elected as a result of the KCRCC’s endorsement is frustrating to see. Watching a high school dropout along with his ideological cohorts seated on NIC’s Board of Trustees rejecting the wise counsel of two highly skilled attorneys and a widely respected college president is difficult to tolerate.

Our community needs elected officials capable of building bridges rather than constructing walls, who will focus their energy on serving our community, not a political machine.

By DEBORAH ROSE/Guest Opinion
September 1, 2021
CDA Press

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