Bonneville County voters have overwhelmingly approved creating a new community college, the College of Eastern Idaho. In final unofficial results, 71.4 percent of voters favored forming a community college district, which can charge local property taxes to help support the school, like the College of Western Idaho, North Idaho College and the College of Southern Idaho. Just 28.6 percent opposed the move, which required a two-thirds margin to pass.
The approval means Eastern Idaho Technical College, a two-year, state-funded technical school in Idaho Falls, will be converted into the new community college, expanding its offerings and qualifying for $5 million in startup funding that lawmakers approved several years ago, just as they did when CWI started in 2007.
During the campaign, the Bonneville County Republican Central Committee passed a resolution opposing the new community college, in part because some GOP officials said they feared attracting refugees and “weird stuff.” The resolution said there’s no guarantee that the community college wouldn’t engage in “controversial and divisive activities beyond the scope of its educational mission.”
Subsequently, both the Bonneville County Democrats and the Bonneville County Republican Women passed resolutions supporting the new community college. Community colleges are governed by locally elected boards of trustees.
In other election results from Tuesday’s election, voters in the Greater Boise Auditorium District re-elected trustee Hy Kloc, but incumbent trustee Judy Peavey-Derr lost to newcomer Kristin Muchow. Voters in Hailey, Ketchum and Sun Valley approved additional local-option taxes to support their local airport. And an array of school levies, school board and highway district races, and other contests were decided across the state; KTVB has a rundown here of the results in many of them.