NORMAL — Three newcomers were elected to the Heartland Community College board of trustees Tuesday as the school faces declining enrollment and financial issues related to state funding.

Patrick Hardesty of rural Chenoa, Donald Gibb of Fairbury and Jeffrey Flessner of Normal were elected to six-year terms on the eight-person board, which includes a student trustee.

They were chosen from a field of seven candidates.

Hardesty, business manager for United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, was the top vote-getter with 9,101. Gibb, a retired science teacher, received 8,127 votes. Flessner, founder/partner in Benefit Planning Associates, got 7,430 votes.

Incumbent Larry Littell of Danvers, a retired Bloomington High School math teacher who served two terms on the board, was not re-elected. He finished sixth with 5,294 votes.

Joe Gibson of Bloomington, who did not seek re-election as City of Bloomington Township supervisor, finished fourth with 7,279 votes. Lance Reece of Bloomington, retired business manager/financial secretary of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 197, had 6,018 votes.

Jeffrey Bathe of Hudson, a former Heartland instructor who is on the faculty of South University, a Georgia-based school with significant online programs, got 3,797 votes.

All the candidates agreed that the biggest financial issue facing the district is how the state’s employee pension problems will affect the district.

The candidates also spoke about the need to hold down costs and keep Heartland affordable for students.

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