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Who is running for Parkland College Board of Trustees?

Yes, the University of Illinois is a major force in our community, but let’s not neglect the influence of Parkland College. From their website

“Parkland College enrolls approximately 20,000 students annually. Our campus is a panoply of student lifestyles, with cultures as diverse as the communities we serve, students ranging in age from 16 to 86, and a growing international presence. About 75 percent of our students live and work within District 505.”

The college is a springboard for some to go on to 4-year institutions, it has strong vocational programming — including a free workforce training program — and a host of community offerings. It’s a major employer in our area, and (in the regular times) we enjoy their theater, planetarium, art gallery, and sporting events. 

So, take some time to learn more about the four candidates running for the two open trustee positions. I’ve linked their candidate pages; scrolling through them is a good way to get an idea of what’s important to them, who they’ve received endorsements from, etc. 

Maureen Banks

  • Director, Division of Safety and Compliance at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Board, community experience: Carle Institutional Review Board, Champaign Rotary Foundation Board, Quincy University, former board member of the United Way
  • “With over 30 years as a resident of our community, I am proud and fortunate to have had the opportunity to pursue my educational goals and to earn several degrees through various avenues including the community college. When I started a business several years ago, I looked to Parkland to help prepare me to write my business plan, to learn about marketing, and to understand how to run a small business. Parkland is many things to many people because it provides a pathway for ‘engaging the community in learning.’”

Jarrett Clem

  • Farmer in Champaign County
  • Board, community experience: Champaign County Workforce Innovation Board, Chairman of the Champaign-Urbana Joint Electrical Apprenticeship Training Committee, Business Manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 601
  • “Parkland College is about an accessible outlet for all members of the community to continue their education in an affordable way. It’s about affordable education that will continue to move Central Illinois in the right direction prospering new industries and jobs. Vocational and occupational training is becoming more relevant in the modern job market. Our area is unique because of the University of Illinois and sustains job opportunities other areas don’t have in technology, agriculture, and other innovative areas. This is why I feel Parkland College needs to maintain it’s prosperity in our area.”

Bradley Uken

  • Manager of Champaign County Farm Bureau
  • Board, community experience: Community Foundation of East Central Illinois, Regional Water Supply Planning Committee, Rotary, Lions Club
  • “The Board of Trustees must balance the needs of all these individuals within the 12-county district. In accomplishing this, Trustees must be responsible to the taxpayers of the district, managing the funds responsibly. Another aspect is planning strategically for the long term needs of the college and community. This entails, setting a vision for the college and then stepping back and providing the appropriate tools to allow the administration and faculty to carry that vision out.”

James Voyles

  • Retired superintendent of Tuscola schools
  • Board, community experience: He is the only incumbent in the race, and has been on the Parkland Board of Trustees for six years. He is currently Vice Chair.
  • “Residents of Parkland’s district should expect that the Board of Trustees be aggressive in its fiscal responsibilities to insure that Parkland continues to stand on sound financial ground. The presence of Parkland College in Champaign County brings many benefits to the county and it’s important that trustees be independent, experienced, and focused on the advancement of Parkland programs. Parkland is one of the best, if not the best, community colleges in the Midwest. The Board of Trustees is important because Parkland College is a very important asset of east-central Illinois and it is vital that its leadership demonstrate reasoned, experienced, and strong leadership.”

All four candidates have completed questionnaires for Champaign County Voters Alliance. You can also hear from each candidate in the League of Women Voters Candidate Forum:

Top photo by Sam Logan.

Staff writer

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