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posted: 3/30/2014 5:01 AM

Training for college trustees essential

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Thank you for the opportunity to provide another perspective to your series of articles and the editorial concerning community college trustees' expenses that have been reimbursed by their colleges.

The seven trustees of each of 38 community college districts in Illinois are elected by the residents of their district to serve 6-year terms. Community colleges teach classes for almost 1 million people every year, 64 percent of our state's higher education students. Effective post-high school education is increasingly essential for our citizens to qualify for good jobs; community colleges meet that need.

Many, if not most, trustees do not come from higher education but have diverse backgrounds and careers. Learning how to become effective trustees is of paramount importance. The Illinois Community College Trustees Association (ICCTA) and the American Community College Trustees Association (ACCT) provide conferences for trustees to learn how to more effectively guide their respective colleges.

The Illinois Public Community College Act states: "Members of the board shall serve without compensation but shall be reimbursed for their reasonable expenses incurred in connection with their service as members." It seems appropriate that trustees who devote 100 to 200 hours per year serving their colleges should be reimbursed for appropriate expenses. Higher education in Illinois has more pressing challenges than trustee expenses if we are to continue to prepare increasing numbers of our citizens for successful careers.

I have been a trustee at Kishwaukee College in Malta, just west of DeKalb, for nine years. I encourage other Illinois trustees to take advantage of all opportunities to learn how to better serve their students and communities.

Bob Johnson



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