While there is no competition for four seats on the board for Eastern Iowa Community Colleges, the four candidates are tuned into the issues, including state funding at this educational level.

The board election is Tuesday, Sept. 12. The polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Candidates are Lori Freudenberg, LeClaire; Jim Hayes, Muscatine, and Denise Hollonbeck and Milton Shaw, both of Davenport. Shaw and Hollonbeck are incumbents.

Freudenberg would be new to the board, but cites the uncertainty of the state budget as the biggest challenge facing the college district. "A mid-year budget cut this past year really hurt," she said, adding that student tuition was increased as a result, by $6 per credit hour.

"That's the highest increase seen in years," she said.

Hollonbeck said federal financial support is "almost nonexistent," and the state dollars are minimal, so there is increasing need for tuition cost increases.

A second challenge, Hollonbeck said, is to continue to attract students to the community colleges to achieve their goals.

For his part, Shaw is looking forward to completion of the district's new Urban Campus in downtown Davenport, slated for January 2018. He said it will be a hub for signature programs like information technology and business classes.

Hayes, recently retired as the CEO of Trinity Muscatine, is interested in how the new Davenport facilities can be leveraged by students from Muscatine County.  

He also cites personal long-time interests for being on the board; Hayes would like to improve the workforce shortage and address local poverty issues.

Freudenberg, who works with the Sisters of St. Francis in Clinton, looks forward to finding "forward-looking people," she said, who maintain a high level of instruction despite the budgetary constraints.

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