Nevada Faculty Alliance
 

NFA Call to Action: Governor’s Budget Would Decimate NSHE

02 Feb 2011 2:06 PM | Deleted user

The Nevada Faculty Alliance calls on all faculty, staff, students, alumni and Nevadans who value our future to express their opposition to the proposal in Governor Sandoval's Executive Budget, which would decimate NSHE institutions and severely limit educational opportunities for Nevadans. Read the following summary by Jim Richardson, join the NFA and take action!

" Chancellor Klaich told the joint budget subcommittee of the state Legislative Commission.

  • 1.      The total drop in state support by FY2013 is $162.4 million from FY2011 levels
  • 2.      State support would drop by FY 2013 close to levels last seen in FY2003
  • 3.      This represents a 29.1% drop in state support for NSHE institution over the current year’s funding (FY2011)
  • 4.      The drop in state support from FY2009 to FY2013 is 36.6%
  • 5.      The budget includes an across the board pay cut of 5% for all employees, which will replace the current furlough policy.
  • 6.      Funding that would come to NSHE includes $121 million of from local governments in Clark and Washoe, a new and controversial concept
  • 7.      The Governor stated that the regents can raise tuition and fees to help fill the gap, even though they have increased dramatically in recent year (49% for university undergrads since 2006-07 and 60% for grad students; 43% for NSC and 32% for community colleges).
  • 8.      The proportion of the State General fund, which was traditionally about 18-19% drops to about 11.65%, and is 13.76% for FY 2013 if the new property tax revenues are included.


Probable impacts of the budget proposal

  • 1.      Hundreds of employees would lose their jobs, and those remaining would have a pay cut. (If the budget hole were filled only by terminations this would mean about 1,850 lay-offs.)
  • 2.      Tuition could increase dramatically (a 73% increase would be required to replace the $162 million, and even that assumes all current students would continue to enroll.)
  • 3.      Many needy students would not be able to afford a college education, meaning that many students will simply be left behind.
  • 4.      More programs would be cut (24 programs were cut this biennium already), probably some colleges would disappear, and perhaps some campus and institutions would be mothballed, severely limiting educational opportunities for Nevadans.
  • 5.      Many students would be stranded without a degree as their programs are canceled.
  • 6.      More of the fine faculty members recruited in recent years will leave and accept jobs in other states.
  • 7.      NSHE direct contributions to the economy (see related story p. ___) would be seriously curtailed.

Chancellor Klaich commented, "We can raise tuition but we can't forget that we have very low financial aid in this state.  If we raise fees by a significant amount without addressing financial aid, we will leave many Nevadans behind.  Not only is this simply wrong, in the long run it is a very costly strategy for the state."

"We take our role in diversifying the economy of this state very seriously, and these cuts will make it more difficult to discharge that mission...If we sustain cuts of this magnitude, the NSHE will be a fundamentally different organization.  We cannot maintain serving the number of students which we currently do at these reduced levels of funding - and that is a tragedy."

Other bad news in the Governor's budget proposal

  • 1.      Cost of health insurance will increase, and there will be significant benefit cuts
  • 2.      Subsidies for health insurance for retirees would be phased out for current employees, and there would be no subsidies in retirement for employees hired after July 1, 2011.
  • 3.      Part-time employees who are greater than 50% and less than 75% would only be subsidized at 60% of the level used for full-time employee.

Reactions

Democratic legislative leaders have taken strong umbrage to the Executive Budget, especially the cuts to K-12 and higher education, as expressed in news articles, Town Hall meetings, and other ways. Senate Majority Leader and Chair of Senate Finance Steven Horsford and Speaker of the Assembly John Oceguera have issued statements expressing concern about the size of cuts to education, as has Debbie Smith, Chair of the Ways and Means Committee.

Most Republican legislators have so far remained relatively silent, although some of indicated previously that more revenue might be needed to sustain essential state services.

Regent Chair James Dean Leavitt has also criticized the budget proposals, and has called for more revenues to fund education, as has Regent Mark Alden and several NSHE presidents. Regent Leavitt in the RJ story said the proposed budget "is absolutely outrageous and will result in cataclysmic changes to the Nevada System of Higher Education."Leavitt added, “It was not fair that higher education should get the steepest cuts.”

Chancellor Klaich made a spirited defense of NSHE and carefully explained the potential impacts of proposed cuts of the magnitude being proposed in his presentation on January 27 to the two money committees meeting jointly as a subcommittee of the Legislative Commission.

Scott Huber, President of the Nevada Faculty Alliance said, “If this budget is approved it will mean the end of higher education in Nevada as we know it. Many students will have their educations terminated, and their career paths dramatically altered. And Nevada will be the worse for it, as efforts to diversify the economy are derailed.”

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