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home : election 2013 : school / other   May 25, 2016

3/1/2013 1:36:00 PM
IVCC candidates campaign for two seats
At a glance: Helpful biographical points
Laurie Bonucci of Princeton
Attended Lake Forest College and earned a Bachelor of Arts.
Married in 1987; four children: Luke, Joe, Tara and Stephanie — ages 21-25.
Moved to Illinois Valley in 1999
Cub Scout Den leader and volunteered at St. Louis School.
Logan Jr. High PTO President, 2003-2005.
Bureau County Master Gardner, 2006, and have helped with many local projects.
Horticultural Superintendent at 4-H fair while serving as a Visual Arts judge.
Capital Campaign member for the Illinois Theatre Conservancy, 2008, and a Bureau County Farm Bureau Director from 2009-11.
Bureau County Red Cross volunteer and a member of Friends in Council.
Princeton Public Library board member since 2000; served as president from 2007-11. Served on multiple committees and helped oversee construction of the new library in 2007.

Brandon Evans of Oglesby
Lives in Oglesby with his wife and daughter
Former electrician and former member of IBEW LU # 176
Illinois I-READ program volunteer Undergrad student at University of Illinois-Springfield

Jane Goetz of Ottawa
Member of IVCC’s Peter Miller Community Technology Center Capital Campaign Steering Committee
IVCC Foundation Director – 8 years
Illinois Principal Association Mentor for New Principals – 6 years
Ottawa Opportunity Preschool Board – 16 years, currently President
OSF St. Elizabeth Foundation Board – six years, currently Chair
Elementary School Principal, 17 years, now retired
Co-Chaired successful United Way of Eastern La Salle County Campaign, 2007 and 2008
Chair of successful Ottawa Elementary School Referendum Committee 2010
Selected as the Ethyl Strong Ambassador of the Year by the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce, 2012
Selected as Rotary International District 6420 Officer of the Year, 2010

Kevin Caufield
NewsTribune Reporter

Illinois Valley Community College is in a difficult financial situation due to the troubled economy.

College leaders are trying to walk a fine line between keeping costs down and educational quality high despite being faced with declining revenue.

On April 9, voters will choose two of three board of trustees candidates for six-year terms that will no doubt be tasked to make some difficult choices.

Laurie Bonucci of Princeton
Laurie Bonucci of Princeton has built up a long resume of volunteering in Bureau County and she would like to bring that experience to the IVCC board of trustees.

“I am running for the board of trustees because I care about the students who attend IVCC and I also care about having a strong, vital community college in our district,” she said. “I believe higher education is the most powerful way to transform a person’s life. The college is important not only to its students but to all the people in this district as a place to learn, to grow or to work.”

Most of her volunteer efforts have been on the Princeton Library Board, where she has served since 2000 and as president 2007-11.

“Running for the board at IVCC is a natural progression in my desire to help the community at large,” Bonucci said. “I am also the only candidate from the western end of the district and equal representation would be beneficial in bringing ‘the college to the community and the community to the college.’”

Increasing enrollment and continuing to provide cutting-edge technical training are necessary in this competitive job market.

She pointed to the college’s recent partnership with Caterpillar and MAG IAS, LLC., as a way to benefit students seeking to obtain the highest level of training on the best machines.

“It’s important to seek out these partnerships in an ongoing basis,” Bonucci said.

As the college navigates the fiscally choppy waters of declining revenue vs. the cost of quality education, Bonucci said she will work with the college administration and board members to examine programs, offerings and activities at the college with the goal of strengthening what is important and reducing what isn’t.

“All efforts must be focused on doing more with less, and also attracting new students to IVCC and promoting all the college has to offer them,” Bonucci said.

Bonucci said the role of an IVCC Board member is to govern the institution by setting its mission and goals with the college president. She said she agrees with the college’s core standards of responsibility, caring, honesty, fairness and respect.

“I agree that these values are important and would be beneficial in board members for the good of the college,” Bonucci said. She added that it’s also important for a board member “to be a good steward of the taxpayers money and keep the financial well-being of the college strong now and for the long term.”

Brandon Evans of Oglesby
Oglesby resident Brandon Evans would like to bring objectivity and thoughtful critique of IVCC’s purpose and goals, directive, finances, and other aspects to higher education if elected.

“My interest is born out of this idea that our own ignorance and failures are the cause of our dissatisfaction with any facet of society,” he said. “It is our individual sincerity, effort and responsibility that will provide the basis for a collective collaboration, check and balance, and substantive dialogue for remedying our agreed deficiencies.”

Evans calls for a “robust and progressive pursuit of knowledge and understanding” on the board and believes a “relentless dogma of idealism and folk psychology has led us to stray further away from the ambitious root of our potential.”

“I’m not suggesting some radical redress of human thought regarding education, but merely a greater commitment by those administrating, servicing, and the community being served toward a virtuous comprehension of education,” he said. “Our ability to understand validity, soundness, and appropriate justification in discourse is still a matter of personal accountability; however, an accountability that we can ease in difficulty and accomplish pragmatically together.”

Evans said the most important issues he’s concerned with in regard to IVCC is the growing number of incoming students that are unprepared for college-level coursework in core subjects and students’ continual need for more financial aid.

“The disproportionate reliance on financial aid to that of basic tuition is going to create further problems,” he said. “Cost will, likely, always be a factor for post-secondary education and will, again likely, continue to be the top factor regardless that it ought to be learning a strong and necessary knowledge base and critical reasoning skills.”

As IVCC continues to find ways to operate efficiently during the current economic downturn across the district;

Evans said it is important for board members to keep educational quality as the highest concern.

“Remembering that the educational quality should be of the highest concern will allow diligent and inventive minds to collaborate and secure a sustainable and thriving education system for our current society and posterity,” Evans said.

Jane Goetz of Ottawa
For more than 40 years, education has been a “passion and profession” for Ottawa resident Jane Goetz. That time in the field, said the retired elementary school principal, has prepared her to use her skills and knowledge to the benefit of IVCC.

Goetz already has experience working with the college. She was a member of the Peter Miller Community Technology Center Capital Campaign Steering Committee and served as IVCC Foundation Director for eight years.

Her long list of community memberships continues with being a 16-year member and current president of Ottawa Opportunity Preschool Board, six-year member and current chairman of OSF St. Elizabeth Foundation Board along with several other chairmanships for philanthropic efforts throughout the Illinois Valley.

In her free time, she likes to travel, read and fly planes.

“The role of a trustee is to act in the best interest of college and community by following all of the regulations and rules while providing the best services and programming within our budget,” Goetz said. “A trustee should uphold the same core values that IVCC promotes: Responsibility, caring, honesty, fairness and respect.”

Goetz said IVCC plays an important role not only in students’ lives but also in the Illinois Valley by providing economic support.

She said she would like the college to continue impacting adult learners by preparing them for better jobs, getting a GED, becoming more proficient in English, or encourage them to take continuing education classes.

“It is important that IVCC continue to reach out to prospective students and families making decisions on their higher education choices,” Goetz said. “Awareness of the quality of instruction and programs offered plus the savings as compared to other universities will help them make the best choice…IVCC.”

Goetz said the college needs to be fiscally responsible as well as be supportive of quality instruction despite budgetary concerns. She said one way to ensure both is to continue exploring partnerships with universities and expanding the college’s dual credit and dual enrollment programs in area high schools.

“The challenge of declining revenue from the state and a decline in credit hours compounds that responsibility,” she said. “Grants can provide some of those much-needed funds and IVCC has been successful in receiving many of these. Another avenue of success for the college has been partnering with successful manufacturing companies such as Caterpillar and MAG Global.”

Kevin Caufield can be reached at (815) 223-3206 Ext. 132.

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