Board of Regents, 3/2/2017
Good morning, Chair Trachok and Regents. For the record my name is Kent Ervin and I am representing the Nevada Faculty Alliance.
We would like to thank Chancellor White and NSHE for giving NFA the opportunity to present our views on faculty compensation at Tuesday’s budget hearing. The Board has repeatedly stated that your highest budget priority is having NSHE faculty compensation treated the same as other state employees. We are very appreciative of the 2% COLAs in the Governor’s budget, which allows salaries to keep pace with inflation. Unfortunately, the COLAs have been misstated at the legislature as a substitute for merit pay, which was funded for classified staff but not faculty. COLAs are not a substitute for merit. Our performance-based merit award system rewards and promotes academic excellence. Merit is essential for recruiting and retaining high quality faculty, and for preventing salary inversion due to new hires coming in at higher competitive market salaries than continuing faculty who have performed excellently. NFA asks for your strong support at the legislature for restoration of merit pay, even if that means a compromise from NSHE’s request of 100% from the general fund.
I would also like to call the Board’s attention to “understatements” in the NSHE base budgets in the executive budget. While the Governor’s budget for NSHE is indeed positive over all, the touted full funding of caseload growth and CTE and capacity enhancements is simply not true because of arbitrary reductions of the base by up to $35M. Rather, a portion of those enhancements and formula funding are either carveouts from existing program budgets or else using student funding. That subverts the intent of the new WSCH formula and the spirit of the agreement that student fee growth would not be offset by general fund reductions. At best, it is a non-transparent method for redirection of program funding in the executive budget.
Please provide appropriate direction to the Chancellor when you discuss legislative actions and the budget. We ask for your proactive support for restoring a sustainable merit pay system along with COLAs. Thank you.