COEUR d'ALENE - Todd Banducci says he will bring a fiscally conservative voice to North Idaho College governance, if he's elected to serve on the college's board of trustees.
Banducci, 49, is challenging incumbent Mic Armon for trustee Seat B in the Nov. 6 election.
"You've got kids and parents and adults who are paying money and giving their time and resources to go to the college," Banducci said. "We need to be ensuring that they're getting out of it what they're putting into it, and we have to have respect for everyone footing the bill."
Banducci graduated from Coeur d'Alene High School in 1981. He holds a bachelor's degree in economics from the United States Air Force Academy and a master's degree in space operations from the USAF Institute of Technology. He entered the Air Force Academy after high school, serving four years as a cadet and 10 years as an officer, rising to the rank of captain before leaving active duty to enter the reserves where he was promoted to major.
Banducci returned to Coeur d'Alene in 1996, where he started Falcon Investments and Insurance, Inc., a business he remains president of today.
In his profession, Banducci said he provides options for people who are making major financial decisions, and said he takes his fiduciary responsibility very seriously.
"Integrity and trust. I went to the Air Force Academy. I believe in that," Banducci said. "I'm not owned by anybody. I have no hidden agendas behind my decision to seek election. It's about trying to do the right thing for the community."
If elected, Banducci said he will take a hard look at NIC's budget. He stipulates that recent years' property tax increases have been too high.
"We've got to be more responsive to the community than they have been previously. There's a balance you have to strike," Banducci said.
Banducci says that while in the military, he created and managed multi-million dollar projects, so he understands the budgeting process and how important it is to communicate with all departments to maximize resources and stretch available dollars.
He said, if elected, he will seek creative ways to financially support the growth of the college without raising taxes.
Banducci said he will also look at whether NIC's policies and procedures match its mission.
"Is that a mission that's in step with the community at large, and not just with a small handful of people? I want to make sure it's reflective of the entire community," Banducci said.
The college also needs to work on operating with more transparency, Banducci said. If elected, he's committed, he said, to improving student and public access to information and public accountability documentation.
"We've got a heck of a resource down there, and as recently published, it has a tremendous impact on the area. I think we can increase that and improve on it," Banducci said.
He has served as president of the Stonehenge Homeowners Association, and is a member of Gideons International, a hunter safety instructor and active in the Republican party.
Banducci has been a youth sports coach, involved in Coeur d'Alene Recreation Department programs, was an assistant wrestling coach at Lake City High School and said he started the basketball program at Coeur d'Alene Charter Academy. At Charter, he helped raise funds to start the program and was the inaugural coach.
"I'm a small business owner, a veteran, a husband, a father, grandfather and a man of faith," Banducci said. "I've got passion and energy. I'm still gung-ho. A new set of eyes brings a fresh approach, new ideas. I think there are some things we've done well at NIC, but we can do better."