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Panel backs appointment of 3 to board that leads colleges

June 30, 2021 GMT

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Legislative panel voted Wednesday to approve the appointment of a former railway executive, a former state senator and an educator to the board that governs the state’s six universities after members previously expressed concerns.

The vote by the Senate Oversight Committee means former president and CEO of BNSF Railway Carl Ice, education consulting firm leader and former school superintendent Cynthia Lane and former Republican state senator and lawyer Wint Winter can serve until their appointments are confirmed by the full Senate.

Democratic Gov Laura Kelly announced the appointments earlier this month, but Senate President Ty Masterson had requested a 48-hour delay before the committee voted.

Sen. Rick Billinger of Goodland, said he agreed to vote yes after speaking to the three about issues that included deferred maintenance, what he described as “boys playing girls sports” and critical race theory. The theory seeks to show how historical inequities and racism affect current public policy and social conditions. Critics say it promotes a distorted view of American history and vilifies white Americans.

Board members serve staggered four-year terms. They also are the coordinating panel for the state’s 32 public higher education institutions, including community colleges and technical colleges.