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BOISE — When a slate of far-right candidates backed by the Kootenai County GOP Central Committee took over the majority on North Idaho College’s elected board of trustees, the result was two years of dysfunction for the nearly century-old community college, including the firing without cause of the college president, a half-million-dollar legal settlement, departure of most of the college’s top professional leadership and near-loss of its accreditation, endangering the ability of students to transfer credits.

Now, a slate of candidates backed by the Ada County GOP Central Committee is challenging every seat on the nonpartisan College of Western Idaho board that’s up for a vote in the November election, in a move with startling parallels to the events at NIC. CWI is the state’s fastest-growing community college, created in 2007 after an unprecedented groundswell of community support from Republicans, Democrats, Ada County, Canyon County, business leaders, educators, and prospective students.

Mark Browning

Mark Browning

Christie Wood

Christie Wood, former North Idaho College trustee

John Goedde

John Goedde, current North Idaho College trustee and former chairman of the Idaho Senate Education Committee

Stephanie Witt, BSU political scientist

Stephanie Witt

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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