Three candidates are in the running for Illinois Eastern Community Colleges Board of Trustees in the April 2 consolidated election.
They are John Brooks of Hutsonville, James Lane of Robinson and Al Henager of Mount Carmel.
Brooks is seeking his third six-year term on the board. He is an avid supporter of the community college system.
"I have completed two full terms and I am excited about serving again. I believe in the mission, the purpose, and the role of community colleges in Illinois. Both my wife and I are community college graduates and three of our five children have attended Lincoln Trail."
Looking toward 2020 and beyond, Brooks sees "numerous challenges" facing Illinois higher education. The population is declining and with it enrollment. "We must continue to engage in fiscal discipline as we navigate these choppy waters," he said. "Fortunately, IECC has a strong history of fiscal prudence and respect for the 110,000 tax-payers of this district."
He also said the district must be creating in attracting and retaining students.
"Historically, our graduation rates have been substantially higher than national average but we must be diligent in raising those numbers," Brooks said. "Students of today and tomorrow learn differently. How they obtain and increase their knowledge is not the same as it was 20 years ago. Whether a student is pursuing a college transfer program, welding, process tech or nursing, etc.; we must be innovative in our classrooms and our approach to instruction."
Lane, 65, is a former IECC trustee who returned to the board two years ago to fill a vacancy.
Lane was originally on the board from 1997 to 2007 and served as chairman for eight years. In 2017, he was appointed to fill the seat vacated by the resignation of fellow Robinson resident Michael Correll. He is running unopposed to finish Correll's term.
"I will strive to continue the growth of quality education while working with the current budget constraints," Lane said.
Henager, has been on the board four years and is seeking his first full, six-year term. He was appointed in 2015 to fill the remaining four years of William Hudson's term after Hudson was elected circuit judge in Wabash County.
He is the executive director of WGH Foundation at Wabash General Hospital in Mount Carmel and was unavailable for comment.