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(Moscow). A near 10-hour meeting of the Idaho State Board of Education was capped off with a unanimous selection of new Board leadership. Richard Westerberg of Preston will serve as President of the Board, Ken Edmunds of Twin Falls as Vice-President and Don Soltman of Rathdrum as secretary. Terms are for one-year, starting at the conclusion of the Board’s April meeting.

The Board approved a plan brought forth by Idaho State University to reorganize the structure of several colleges within the institution. “We must enable our institutions to be flexible and responsive in these difficult and challenging times,” said Finance Chairman Westerberg. “I believe they will emerge stronger and more viable for the long term.”

The Board, which is also the Board of Regents for the University for Idaho, approved an integrated education model for the College of Arts & Architecture. “The University has demonstrated yet again, it’s responding to the changing landscape,” said President Paul Agidius.

Students attending Lewis-Clark State College, Idaho State University and Boise State University will see a savings in their health insurance plans. The Board approved a buying consortium of the three institutions. “Economies of scale are definitely at play in the world of health care, so this is the right move for the institutions and for students. Everyone benefits.” said Board member Don Soltman. Students can have the requirement to purchase insurance from the institution if they can provide proof of equal or greater coverage, per Board policy.

A new contact for Boise State University Head Football Coach Chris Petersen was approved, giving the university and Coach Petersen a five year commitment to each other. “Coach Petersen is a one of a kind individual and he has done nothing but bring positive impressions of Boise State, Idaho and its citizens. His actions, demeanor and character are an example to every coach, every fellow employee of the university and beyond,” said Board member Rod Lewis. The contract, which actually pays Petersen less than if he had stayed on his former contract, contains no state general fund dollars (taxpayer money).

The Board enjoyed a presentation from the North Idaho Discovery Association (NIDA) on robotics programs. An award winning robot delivered several items to Board members remotely, highlighting the rapid advances in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields of education. “This is where we need to go, and quickly,” said Board member Emma Atchley. “These are exciting and very innovative fields.”

The Board’s next meeting is the annual Board retreat, May 20, 2010 in Boise. The next regular meeting is June 16-17, 2010 at Eastern Idaho Technical College in Idaho Falls.

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