Candidate profile: Marlene Barach

What you need to know about the April 2019 election

The 2019 municipal election is April 2. Here are some key dates and times you need to know if you're planning to vote.
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The 2019 municipal election is April 2. Here are some key dates and times you need to know if you're planning to vote.

Name: Marlene Barach

Age: 81

Town: Bethalto

Occupation: Retired Professor

Position Seeking: Board member for Board of Trustees for Lewis and Clark Community College

Why are you running and why should people vote for you? I love Lewis and Clark Community College. I was a professor at LC for 25 years. I think Lewis and Clark has outstanding faculty members, plays a leading role in initiating new concepts for community colleges, has outstanding technology as well as a beautiful campus. It is my passion to help LC continue being a leader among community colleges and to continue offering support to our community.

What are the most important issues the facing the community college, and how would you approach them? Workforce training: student training education needs to meet the needs of our ever changing world. For example, during my tenure on the board, we worked to create the Weber Workforce Center, which doubled the capacity of LC’s welding technology program. Rising tuition is an issue that the present board just addressed. We froze tuition and credit hour fees for 2020 at the current rates. We have amazing grant writers and we are continually receiving grants.

Under what circumstances would you vote to raise property taxes or fees for the college? If there is no support from the state, we need to find ways to keep the college open. We would have to look for other income. Raising property taxes or fees is not something to take lightly. We have received grants totaling $60 million over the last 10 years. Annual support for students from private donations amounts to $1 million in scholarship money.

What are your goals for the community college/what do you want to accomplish? I would like to see LC continue to be a leader in academic excellence. The Illinois Community College Board has had Lewis and Clark representatives speak to colleges throughout the state on our success with the Complete College America initiative. We have received recognition for a variety of the college’s support services. This includes the Military, the Environment, the Health Clinic, the Library.

Enrollment has been dropping at community colleges around the state. How should schools try to reverse that trend? In a recent comparison between LC and 28 other community colleges, LC’s annual unduplicated enrollment was 10,145 as compared to 8,353. (Integrated Postsecondary Ed. Data System - IPEDS). Our work to stay current with technology advances, dual credits and smooth transitions to four year universities - all while keeping the cost of tuition down - is paying off.