Monthly Archives: January 2015

NIC Tells Lawmakers: “We Have Reached Our Limit”

North Idaho College President Joe Dunlap was among the higher education officials who presented before Idaho’s state budget writing committee this week. He told lawmakers that the two year college needs funding help from the state. Idaho Public Radio’s Glenn Mosley has more. (1:10 )

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NIC President Joe Dunlap told members of the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee on Tuesday that NIC and the other community colleges in the state have reached the limit of what they can do with current levels of funding:

Joe Dunlap: “The community colleges of Idaho have done heavy lifting during the recession, accommodating significant increases in enrollment, putting people back to work, and preparing over 50 percent of Idaho freshman and sophomores for upper division work at the four year institutions, and creating more career and technical programs.”

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(Photos of North Idaho College campus by Nick Dimico)

Dunlap told lawmakers says that when adjusted for inflation, North Idaho College is receiving 32 percent less in state funding than it did in 2002. He said that over the past two years, all new programs at the Coeur d’ Alene college have been funded through grants or reallocation of existing funds.

Dunlap says NIC wants to help the state reach its goal of having more high school students go on to college, but he said that requires more staff in areas such as advising and retention.

Governor Butch Otter has recommended a budget increase of 1.5 percent for community colleges.

I’m Glenn Mosley reporting.

On the web:

Copyright 2015 Idaho Public radio

Posted January 30, 2015

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Lewis Clark State College Pushes ‘Work College’ Initiative

Lewis Clark State College is asking state lawmakers to fund a ‘Work College’ trial program in which students work at a job at the college in exchange for tuition costs and a stipend. Idaho Public Radio’s Glenn Mosley has more. (1:15 )

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LCSC President Tony Fernandez says this proposal is not a work study program, but instead a new idea for Idaho. He told members of the state’s Joint Finance Appropriations Committee this week that under this program, the student would hold a regular job at the college for ten hours a week, ten months a year:

Tony Fernandez:  “We think that LCSC is ideally suited for this approach in Idaho. We have the lowest student cost among the four year institutions, we have the leanest staffing, we can definitely put these students to good use. And, we will piggy back on our existing AmeriCorps experiences, student learning, work, and service.”

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(Graphic courtesy Lewis Clark State College)

Fernandez told lawmakers that the program would benefit students in a number of ways, including graduating with less student debt and with more mentoring from work supervisors as they gain real work experience.

LCSC has been studying the idea for the past couple of years, and officials say it has been validated at seven other colleges under a ‘Work Colleges Consortium.’

LCSC is asking for $209,000 to fund a four year trial run for twenty students. If funded by the state legislature, the program would get underway in the new fiscal year.

I’m Glenn Mosley reporting.

On the web:

Work Colleges Consortium

http://www.workcolleges.org/

Copyright 2015 Idaho Public Radio

Posted January 29, 2015

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“Add the Words” Legislation Defeated in House State Affairs Committee

By Jeff Myers

Idaho Public Radio

State Capitol Bureau

Idaho House Bill 2, which would have added the words sexual orientation and gender identity to the Idaho Human Rights Act, was defeated in the House State Affairs Committee this morning on a 13-4 vote along party lines.

The bill will not be reported out of committee, which effectively kills the legislation. After the vote, there was discussion of a possible compromise, but the future of the issue remains unclear.

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(The House State Affairs Committee this morning. Jeff Myers photo)

The vote came after three days of testimony in which citizens from all over the state took to the podium to make their appeals for or against the bill. According to Betsy Russell of the Spokesman Review’s Eye on Boise blog, 190 citizens spoke in total, 134 in favor, 54 opposed and 2 neutral.

Representative Brent Crane opposed the bill. “There is a tension that exists between someone’s rights based on their sexual orientation and gender identity and another’s rights based on their sincerely held religious beliefs,” he said. “I don’t believe, as it’s written, that House Bill 2 will solve that tension.”

Representative John McCrostie cast one of the four votes in favor of House Bill 2. “We have competing forces in this argument,” said McCrostie, “and both sides deserve to be treated equally and respectfully and that is what HB2 is about.”

Representative Ken Andrus cast his vote against the bill. “I am in favor of legislation,” said Andrus, “but I don’t think today, this is that legislation.”

Some of the issues raised by opposition included the risk of potential lawsuits, violation of religious freedoms, the slippery slope towards protection for other groups such as the overweight or bald, and concerns about the use of public restrooms by transgender individuals. Proponents of the measure asserted that HB2 is a civil liberties issue and that gay and transgender peoples should be afforded the same protections as everyone else. Some of this testimony included very emotional personal stories of suffering and discrimination.

Supporters had been pushing for a public hearing on the bill for nine years. After the hearing, some gathered in a hallway at the state Capitol in silent protest.

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(The protest after the hearing concluded. Jeff Myers photo)

Representative Paulette Jordan, who voted in favor, said that those efforts will not end here. “I hope in our next go around, and hopefully that will be soon, we’ll find justice and equality for those who deserve it.”

Copyright 2015 Idaho Public Radio

Posted January 29, 2015

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LCSC’s Funding Priorities Include Employee Compensation, Infrastructure

It was Lewis-Clark State College’s turn before Idaho’s Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Wednesday. Idaho Public Radio’s Glenn Mosley has more. (:58 )

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In speaking with the state’s budget writing committee Wednesday, LCSC President Tony Fernandez used some history of the college and stories about current and former students to tell lawmakers that he thinks the college is doing what the state of Idaho expects it to do.

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(LCSC President Tony Fernandez before JFAC on Wednesday. Jeff Myers photo)

On budget matters, Fernandez supported the Governor’s recommended funding for the Lewiston college:

Tony Fernandez: “The Governor recommended a little over $32 million for LCSC next year. We think that this will provide us with vital support to sustain our operations and support our students.”

Fernandez told lawmakers that the college’s top priority is employee compensation. He said the college had a 26% turnover rate in classified staff in 2014.

Other priorities for LC include the Complete College Idaho program, support for professional/technical programs, and infrastructure needs.

I’m Glenn Mosley reporting.

Copyright 2015 Idaho Public Radio

Posted January 28, 2015

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Vandal Athletics Round-Up

Swimming & Diving

On Senior Day, the Idaho Swim and Dive team defeated conference opponent Grand Canyon by a wide margin, 213-89. The Vandals won 15 of 16 events.

“The way to beat a good team is get on them early and try to put them back on their heels,” Idaho coach Mark Sowa said in a press release. “I think we did a good job of that.”

The Vandal divers will compete Friday at the Air Force Invitational at the Air Force Academy and the swimmers will compete Saturday in a dual meet at Oregon State.

Vandals

Women’s Basketball

Northern Colorado defeated Idaho last Saturday, 70-52, at the the Bank of Colorado Arena. UNC hit 10 first half three-point field goals, getting out to a 23-point lead.

“I have not seen a team come out and shoot threes like that since our days of playing at Fresno State,” Idaho coach Jon Newlee said in a press release. “To see so many different players hit the threes was the crazy part…Hats off to them. They had shots and they knocked them down.”

Idaho (8-10, 2-5) hosts Eastern Washington at the Cowan Spectrum on Saturday.

Men’s Basketball

Idaho hung on to defeat Northern Colorado last Saturday night,  83-79, in Moscow.

The Vandals led by as many as 23 points in the game, only to see UNC surge back late in the game. The win snapped Idaho’s four-game losing streak and improved the team’s record to 8-10 overall and 3-4 in the Big Sky.

“I’m proud of our guys,” Idaho coach Don Verlin said in a press release. “What I want to focus on is we got a win…To find a way to win tonight was good.”

Idaho plays at Eastern Washington on Saturday.

Men’s Tennis

The Idaho men’s tennis team was strong in doubles play last Saturday afternoon, taking two out of three matches against Gonzaga. But the Zags were stronger in singles play and defeated the Vandals, 5-2.

“Today there were some really good signs of the talent this team has, but we need to get match tough, in better shape and mentally tougher,” Idaho coach Jeff Beaman said in a press release. “This will come with hard work and more match play. I am excited for this spring season and working with these guys.”

The Vandals take on Portland State on Friday in Portland.

Copyright 2015 Idaho Public Radio

Posted January 28, 2015

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U- Idaho Budget Priorities Include Salaries, Research, and WWAMI

The funding priorities for the University of Idaho for the coming year, as presented to the members of the state’s Joint Finance- Appropriations Committee on Monday, reflects the university’s statewide research and education programs. Idaho Public Radio’s Glenn Mosley reports. (1:08 )

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Speaking to the state’s budget writing committee Monday, UI officials, including President Chuck Staben, outlined funding priorities for the coming fiscal year, including salary competitiveness, student employment readiness programs, the Complete College Idaho program, the new law and learning center in Boise, expanding access to WWAMI, the regional medical education program, forest utilization research, and agriculture research and extension.

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(Graphic courtesy University of Idaho. It details UI locations around the state)

UI Agriculture Dean Jon Foltz spoke to lawmakers about the impact ag research and extension has on the state’s nearly ten billion dollar agriculture industries:

Jon Foltz: “We are proud to be a part of the almost ten billion dollar agricultural enterprise in the state of Idaho. We feel that we’re a large part of the research and development engine of this industry through our research and extension around the state.”

Funding requests from the UI include support for Extension 4-H programs, graduate research assistants, and a faculty position to conduct research in the Rangeland Center on wildfire and invasive species management.

I’m Glenn Mosley reporting.

Copyright 2015 Idaho Public Radio

Posted January 27, 2015

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U- Idaho Proposes Tuition Freeze Plan for Idaho Residents

Speaking to the state’s budget writers today, University of Idaho President Chuck Staben proposed freezing resident undergraduate tuition at current levels if the state fully pays for the costs associated with employee raises. Idaho Public Radio’s Glenn Mosley reports. (1:32 )

Listen here:

UI President Chuck Staben told lawmakers Monday that a pay raise for employees is the university’s number one priority. He said UI’s salaries are at only 84% of peer institutions, and that the university is at risk of losing not only established faculty and staff, but also its rising stars.

Staff turnover last year was at 18%, Staben said, and faculty turnover was at 14%.

Staben said he appreciates the Governor’s proposed three percent pay raise for state employees, but for the UI it does pose a budget issue:

Chuck Staben: “We only get approximately 50% of the general funds that are required to pay this three percent CEC. The other 50%, in the University of Idaho’s case, about $1.6 million, has to come from a dedicated fund, and that dedicated fund is tuition.”

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(U- Idaho President Chuck Staben speaks to JFAC on Monday. Jeff Myers photo)

Staben offered lawmakers a plan– freeze tuition in exchange for the pay raise being fully funded:

Chuck Staben: “We’re asking the Legislature to fully fund that salary gap, and if you do, our plan is to not raise resident undergraduate tuition this year. We think this is the best way to ensure access for the students of Idaho to a trans-formative University of Idaho education.”

Senator Dean Cameron, a member of the budget committee, told Staben he had posed the committee with an interesting dilemma.

The plan would apply only to tuition, and not the fees paid by students. The plan would also need approval from the Idaho State Board of Education.

I’m Glenn Mosley reporting.

On the web:

U- Idaho information on President Staben’s budget presentation

http://www.uidaho.edu/newsevents/item?name=ui-president-addresses-idaho-joint-finance-appropriations-committee

Idaho Joint Finance- Appropriations Committee

http://legislature.idaho.gov/budget/JFAC/jfac.htm

Copyright 2015 Idaho Public Radio

Posted January 26, 2015

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