Dear Members of the State Board of Education,

Re: North Idaho College

Many of you know me from my days as Chairman of the Senate Education Committee and an original member of your Accountability Oversight Committee. I applaud you for taking a hard stand in your letter of Dec. 3. Please understand that every day, decisions are being made at the local level which have a negative impact on the future of North Idaho College. Please find below some of my immediate concerns:

1) There has been a suggestion that the employment of the former wrestling coach as interim president may go on for as long as three years. I have no idea of the qualifications he brings to the office but, from what I understand as the circumstances around his hiring for the position, neither did the board of trustees. There was no formal interview process whereby candidates were vetted. Also, a fairly high prospect of nepotism has also been alleged.

North Idaho College should be told now to employ a firm to aid them in the hiring of a credible president to help the college in this immediate time of stress.

2) You have suggested that the college complete an Accreditation response action plan as soon as possible. I ask you to set a date for the plan to be submitted to the State Board; “well before” is not enough.

3) I ask you to consider the students currently attending our community college and I hope you have had the chance to read their “Sentinel,” which lays out student concerns. As a proponent of dual credit opportunities, I ask why a high school student would risk taking classes which may not be transferable when they are ready to attend a four year institution.

4) North Idaho College has lost a number of key administrative positions since the firing of the former president for no cause. Faculty fears their jobs under the current leadership. While these positions may be filled, the loss of institutional knowledge cannot be replaced. While respecting local control, I urge you help reassure those faculty members considering leaving to stay the line for a short while longer, suggesting board oversight in the future if necessary.

5) The fate of the Head Start program in North Idaho College is in jeopardy due to the federal requirement that federally funded programs must have a mask mandate. Currently, NIC serves 280 Idaho children. Our communities can ill afford the loss of this program but it is in the hands of the NIC trustees and, ultimately, yours.

I have no faith that the current leadership of North Idaho College is going to change the way they are doing business. I believe I am joined in that belief by a good number of business people in our community. I urge your expedience in moving this work forward.

Respectfully submitted,

John W. Goedde

Cc: Governor Brad Little

By JOHN W. GOEDDE/Guest Opinion
December 18, 2021 1:00 AM

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