Matthews seeks NIC trustee Seat A - Coeur d'Alene Press: Nic

Matthews seeks NIC trustee Seat A

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Posted: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - Paul Matthews says there are problems at North Idaho College and he's ready to work on solving them.

Matthews, a Rathdrum architect, is challenging incumbent Judy Meyer for Seat A on the NIC board.

"Fiscal responsibility is needed. We need to stop the mission creep that's stepped in and re-establish transparency and accountability," Matthews said.

The 50-year-old says he would bring to the board a conservative perspective along with skills and experience that will help him resolve issues affecting finance and policy decisions being made at the community college.

Matthews holds a bachelor's degree in architecture from Indiana's Ball State University. He claims extensive project management experience having served as architect on more than 250 building projects, and has been involved in decision-making and policy-setting on multiple boards, both private and public.

Matthews said the "mission creep" he sees at NIC stems from the lack of a clearly-defined mission.

The college's strategic and capital improvement plans are out of sync, he said. For example, Matthews said one document highlights transfer credits as a priority, while the other places "amenities to the Coeur d'Alene campus" at the top of the list.

"The idea is there has to be a specific mandate, and you have to stick to that mandate," Matthews said.

Board members then have to resist the temptation to spend money on projects that don't align with the college's mission, once it is defined, no matter how attractive those projects may be.

Regarding NIC's purchase and development of the education corridor land, Matthews said he has mixed feelings.

"There are certain things about it that are wonderful, like the ability to tie up the land next to the college for future use," he said.

Other aspects of the plan make less sense to Matthews, like the spending that has gone into developing the property's infrastructure well in advance of the need for it.

Matthews said it's unusual to build roundabouts and landscape property long before any buildings go up.

He said the college is spending too much on remedial education - non-credit course work required by students lacking the skills to take college-level classes. This is another indication, he said, of clear direction missing at NIC.

"The governor's workforce training initiative calls for Idaho to cut remedial education in half, and yet, our capital improvement plan calls for NIC to become a remedial education center," Matthews said.

A lack of public openness is another problem Matthews sees at NIC, and promises to address, if elected. He specifically points to the NIC board policy regarding communications with the trustees. That policy calls for members of the "college community, faculty staff and students" to go through the college president when communicating with board trustees.

"The policy says if you're a citizen, you can have a copy of the agenda upon request to the president of the college," Matthews said. "That's absurd."

He calls it a "circle the wagons" mentality with policies designed to limit communication.

Matthews' board and leadership experiences include: past chair of the Kootenai County Planning and Zoning Commission, past chair of the Kootenai County Historic Preservation Commission, past chair of the Kootenai County Capital Improvement Plan Advisory Board, past chair of the Rathdrum Building Codes Review Board, past President of the Rathdrum Area Chamber of Commerce. He has also served on the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee as an elected Republican Precinct Committeeman since 2004.

He co-founded the Westwood Historical Society in Rathdrum, helped found LAM Christian School (formerly the Lutheran Academy of the Master), and was named Rathdrum Citizen of the Year.

When asked what the most important thing is that he would like people to know about him as a candidate, Matthews said: "I'm the Republican in the race."

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  • Candor posted at 10:02 am on Mon, Oct 22, 2012.

    Candor Posts: 35

    We have a simple choice in this NIC Trustee election. We can vote for the Ron Nilson, Paul Matthews, Todd Banducci, the three candidates endorsed by the Reagan Republicans and supported by almost every Republican group and leader in the county. Or you can support Meyers, Armon and Haagenson who are endorsed by the Kootenai County Democratic Party and virtually every Democrat activist.

    Nilson, Matthews ande Banducci support reigning in tax increases, increasing graduation rates, and increasing focus on the college serving the needs of community and preparing students for work and citizenship. The incumbents Meyers and Armon (with their hand-picked successor, Haagenson) will continue the policies that have seen your NIC taxes increase by 73%, your tax rate skyrocket by 116% but result in less than 13% of the students graduating on time and only 21% graduating in 3 years.
    Vote for change at NIC, Vote Republican, Vote Matthews, Banducci and Nilson.

  • Sunshinegirl posted at 11:29 am on Thu, Oct 18, 2012.

    Sunshinegirl Posts: 79

    Lone wolf and Christie Wood are exactly right. I will no longer listen to the 'no tax' diatribe that the RR's keep spouting just to get elected. An NIC Trustee has to balance taxes with enrollment costs in order to maintain teachers salaries, curriculum and students there. Any candidate who is touting the tax rate being higher is missing the fact that the assessments fell at the same time. It's all a balancing act and the RR's love to just talk taxes without including the whole picture.

    Dave Oliveria of HBO has stated that his taxes went up $15. Thank you for sharing your rate, mister d. This amount is evidence that the RR position is pure smoke and mirrors.

    Vote for the current board members to maintain NIC as a vibrant education amenity in this community that continues to educate people of all ages through a combination of academic and technical education options. The students deserve diverse options.

  • mister d posted at 5:39 pm on Wed, Oct 17, 2012.

    mister d Posts: 1531

    lone wolf you are absolutely correct. The RR's are very dangerous to education in Idaho and I think people are starting to get a clue by looking at the CDA School Board. I would never vote for an RR based on their backward philosophy. NIC has kept their tax request very reasonable, I have seen less that $10 total for many years. Stay with people who actually support education, the current board members.

  • crust123 posted at 11:07 am on Wed, Oct 17, 2012.

    crust123 Posts: 217

    Time for change on the NIC board. No longer any room for differing viewpoints. Vote out incumbents, time for fresh blood. i am sure C Wood would like to see status quo... She is part of the problem.

  • Wiseguy posted at 9:49 am on Wed, Oct 17, 2012.

    Wiseguy Posts: 77

    lonewolf - "Please be aware that the NIC candidates backed by the Reagan Republicans, with the same agenda, for the college are Todd Banducci, Paul Matthews and Ron Nilson."

    Yes exactly. Thier agenda is

    1. Stop NIC Board from raising taxes 73% (with a 116% increase in tax rates) to buy land and build artsy and fancy traffic roundabouts

    2. Increase the amazingly low 13% (two-year) and 21% (three year) graduation rates

    3. gets some representation on the Board that represents the rest of the county not just those who work spitting distance from NW Blvd.

  • truthaboutrr posted at 8:59 am on Wed, Oct 17, 2012.

    truthaboutrr Posts: 4

    People may be interested to know that at LAM Christian Academy, the school he runs with his wife, tuition has gone up 40+% and enrollment is down 40+% over the past 3 years. It also looks like the school has lost its lease. Not the vision we want.

  • 3Cheers posted at 8:48 am on Wed, Oct 17, 2012.

    3Cheers Posts: 478

    The current trustees want to continue to indoctrinate a liberal arts curriculum. The republicans running for these positions have recognized the need to educate students so they can actually become participating members of society with productive jobs.
    The fact that students waste so much time in college needing remedial education after graduating from hi gh school is a direct reflection on the quality of public education they are receiving. Idaho is not alone in this. But It is interesting that lone wolf's concern about education is teacher/instructor tenure.

  • lone wolf posted at 8:17 am on Wed, Oct 17, 2012.

    lone wolf Posts: 246

    Christie Wood, current NIC board member said it best recently; "…we have candidates running that I believe have a do harm agenda all in a quest for power, and to promote their ideology… The questions Mic (Armon) was asked by the RR’s absolutely startle me. They asked about his support in ending tenure of our long-time instructors in order to control the curriculum and then only teach American curriculum.”

    The Reagan Republicans plan is to drastically change our local education to fit only their ideology.
    Please be aware that the NIC candidates backed by the Reagan Republicans, with the same agenda, for the college are Todd Banducci, Paul Matthews and Ron Nilson. They have already demonstrated a lack of public input interest by not showing up to a community forum to debate their positions and goals for the college should they get elected.

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