College of Western Idaho Delays Launch

Dennis Griffin, president of the now-forming College of Western Idaho told the state budget committee Wednesday that he feels like a puppy with big paws and too many masters giving him conflicting advice and commands.

Since approved by voters on May 22, the new community college has gotten a board, set up shop at Boise State’s Nampa campus, hired a skeleton staff of VPs, called some other community colleges for advice…

But the board has also decided not to start classes on time.

“It became obvious we couldn’t get that done that fast,” Griffin told the Legislative budget committee.

CWI will start some basic education and non-credit classes almost immediately, but will open officially in Jan ’09, running the Larry Selland College for Boise State University. It will eventually assume complete operations over the two-year college that is now part of Boise State.

CWI will hire 40 part time faculty and 20 full time profs next fall in preparation for the ’09 launch. The college district intended to ask Ada and Canyon county residents for $4 million in tax funds but will only levy $2 million for ’08 because of the delayed launch date, Griffin said.

Still, CWI would like to receive a $5 million state appropriation and $100,000 boost in liquor fund contributions to community colleges. Budget writers appeared amenable to the funding, though they asked Griffin to repeat the figures a number of times until he read them correctly into the record.

Sen. Elliot Werk suggested after the meeting that Boise State University, with the Selland College, is like a Chinese restaurant in Trona, California: it has everything from chow mein to cheese burgers and is not going to do any of them particularly well. Transferring some two-year functions to CWI will allow both institutions to better fulfill their missions.

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