Most people have a good feeling about what North Idaho College means to the region. Even its staunchest critics had to raise an eyebrow, though, over the recent report on NIC's economic impact.
According to a study that was released at last week's meeting of the NIC board of trustees:
• NIC has a positive impact of $165 million on the region's economy - that's 2.7 percent of the total regional economy.
• For students, the impact translates to an annual 16 percent return on their investment.
• For taxpayers, the annual return on investment is 6 percent.
Whether or not you buy those numbers isn't critical to our discussion today. What does matter is that there is agreement over NIC's place not just on the local academic landscape, but on the economic one, as well.
That's particularly significant because you, taxpayers, are being asked to select a majority of the college's decision-making body, its board of trustees. Three of the five positions are open; only incumbents Christie Wood and Ken Howard aren't up for re-election this fall.
In all, 10 people have filed for those three seats. The two incumbents, Mic Armon and Judy Meyer, are running again; Trustee Ron Vieselmeyer is not.
We encourage voters to go to cdapress.com/news/political to read profiles on the trustee candidates. On Oct. 15, we'll also publish and broadly distribute a special 2012 Voter's Guide that will include profiles on all 10 trustee candidates.
The Press will not endorse any candidates this election season, but we will tell you that there are some outstanding citizens volunteering their time and talent to lead your community college. Please study their backgrounds and their ideas, then cast an informed vote. It's unlikely anything else on the ballot will have a greater economic impact locally than the selection of these three people.