Nevada Faculty Alliance
 

NFA News Archive

  • 08 Apr 2011 11:47 AM | Deleted user

    For one hundred years, higher education has been a primary gateway to a better life for Americans. People with college degrees make more money, divorce less, live longer and secure a better future for their children than people without a degree.  In fact, despite its many flaws, the American system of higher education is the envy of the world, attracting students from every corner of the globe.

     

    And yet today, when the state of Nevada already has the fewest students who go on to college in the nation, it stands on the precipice of limiting access, reducing the quality, and narrowing the breadth of higher education for Nevadans.  If the Governor’s budget passes intact, consider the following:

     

                 UNR will lose 2 colleges, including the teacher preparation function of the College of Education; 8 majors; and with reductions in the Department of Mathematics students will be unable to get classes needed for graduation and professional training.

                 UNLV will lose 12 departments and 36 other degree programs, 325 positions including 135 faculty lines (102 occupied by tenure-earning faculty) and over 2000 currently enrolled students

                 NSC, who has lost 19% of its full-time faculty while growing 40% in student enrollment since 2008, will be forced to offer fewer sections of classes and increase class sizes by over 25%

                 DRI has suffered from substantial faculty losses, with 23 departures since 2008.  Without state funding to invest in recruitment, retention, and new research initiatives, this trend will continue, and will likely accelerate, into the coming years.  

                 CSN  expects a reduction of enrollment by approximately 2,478 FTE in FY 2013 and an estimated loss of 9,275 headcount, for 12,336 seats on top of the estimated 5,000 students already turned away in Fall 2010

                 GBC faces the elimination of at least 120 more sections or approximately 3000 seats in 2012 and an additional 60 sections or another 1,500 seats in 2013.  Over thirty positions will be eliminated.

                 TMCC already has condensed five academic units into two and expects to serve 6,000 fewer students.  From 2006 to 2011 TMCC has seen a reduction of staffing over 38%

                 WNC plans to close 7 satellite facilities, reduce the number of class sections offered and lose seven tenured faculty.

                 NSHE is considering a 12-13% hike in student tuition and fees for both 2012 and 2013, a cumulative increase of nearly 30%--on top of the 20% increase that has occurred in the last 2 years.

     
    This systematic dismantling of higher education is being done on the basis of false facts.  Before this recession, Nevada already had the smallest state general fund in the country (when viewed as a share of the state economy), the fewest public employees in the nation, and the fewest working in higher education. Further, Nevada state employees are not overpaid.  In fact, when educational level and work experience are taken into account, they are slightly underpaid.

     

    Moreover, the budget shortfall we are experiencing today may be a large share of our small state budget, but it is only 1% of our state economy.  The Governor asserts that state government spending is out of control; this is untrue given any comparative data.  The Governor has not considered options providing a balance of cuts and revenues.  In fact, his budget, by refusing to consider the so-called “Sunsetted Taxes,” removes revenues created to sustain the state through our unprecedented budget crisis.  The problem we face is not too big to solve, provided the Governor will come to the table to find a balanced solution. 


    In the face of these facts, the Governor claims that increasing taxes is bad policy, especially during a recession.  But again he is simply mistaken.  Economic theory and all the evidence contradict his premise.  These spending cuts will hurt the economy much worse, in both the short and the long run, than providing adequate funds for the universities, state college, and community colleges.  Indeed, the fact that Nevada has suffered in this recession more than any other states has not been because we spent too much on education, but too little.  Other states, even those Western states with severe housing bubbles, have recovered faster because they had a more educated population and were better able to adapt to new employment and investment opportunities.


    Finally, these actions are rooted in the wrong values.  The Governor’s budget is built on the notion that Nevadans are, and should be, only out for themselves.  It pits small business against government workers, parents against teachers, consumers against taxpayers, the old against the young.  But if, as this budget promises, a few of us succeed at the expense of the rest, we will all have failed.   Higher education is a public good. When one of us is educated, it benefits all of us.  When one of us is denied this opportunity, we all lose.  

     

    Given these facts, we believe that the Governor’s proposed budget is not an effort to solve a crisis, but rather an effort to use a crisis for ideological purposes, to take advantage of this recession to force a significant scaling back of public education.  We believe the advocates of this approach oppose the public university on principle.


    We, the faculty of the NSHE, declare that what the Governor’s budget proposes to do with higher education is wrong.  It is wrong on the facts.  It furthers the wrong values.  It charts the wrong course for Nevada’s future. 

  • 06 Apr 2011 3:02 PM | Deleted user
    Two mining measures are making their way through the Senate Revenue Committee. SJR 15 would delete the constitutional protections for the mining industry, thus allowing the Legislature, if the constitutional amendment passes, to tax mining by statute as other states do. SB 493 would establish an oversight commission to monitor how mining issues of all kinds are handled (including taxation).

    In an April 5 hearing, two Nevada Faculty Alliance representatives – Glenn Miller, UNR NFA chapter president and an environmental expert, and Jim Richardson, NFA lobbyist – testified on these measures, with Glenn offering substantive reasons for the need for oversight on mining in Nevada, and Jim lending NFA support to both measures.

    The NFA supports SJR 15 and SB 493 because of environmental concerns, but also particularly because of problems revealed recently concerning taxation of the mining industry, such as the number of deductions mining companies claim and the fact that they have not been audited in two years.

    Our support of the two bills also is based on desperation. We in the Nevada System of Higher Education are handing out hundreds of pink slips to faculty and staff who will be terminated if the governor’s proposed budget is approved. We will see many more degree programs terminated, campuses closed, and thousands more students hindered in their efforts to get a degree.

    And all this is on top of the hundreds of terminations forced during the current biennium by the 20-percent budget cuts already absorbed. This should not be occurring at all, particularly while the extremely lucrative mining industry is reaping record profits and taking most of those profits out of state.

    Sadly, neither of these bills will deal with the short-term problems we face; however, if passed, they may prevent future legislatures from being so stymied in their efforts to deal with fiscal problems Nevada faces.
  • 06 Apr 2011 2:44 PM | Deleted user
    AB 449, the economic diversification bill, was heard April 4 in a joint meeting of the two money committees. It was presented by the chief sponsor, Senator John Oceguera, along with Governor Brian Sandoval, Lt. Governor Brian Krolicki and Majority Leader Steven Horsford. So, it has some momentum and will pass, and be signed by the governor with great flourish.

    Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Dan Klaich testified, offering  support from the System, and appreciation for the recognition that the System must play a major role in economic diversification in Nevada. He indicated that he understood the funding for the Knowledge Fund, which the bill's authors would like to set at $10 million, would not be carved out of the NSHE allocation at the end of the session, but would be directly allocated from the state General Fund in addition to the NSHE allocation. The precise amount of the allocation, however, will be determined later, pending availability of state funds.

    Moreover, the Chancellor noted that the fund would only impact research done by university and DRI faculty who were funded from the Knowledge Fund and therefore did not represent an imposition on the academic freedom or autonomy of higher education faculty.

    In response to a question from Senator Horsford, Klaich agreed that there was a significant incongruity between this effort at economic diversification and the huge budget cuts being recommended by the governor for NSHE institutions. Klaich indicated that NSHE institutions would  not be able to do all that needed to be done toward economic diversification if anything like the current budget proposals were approved.

    The bill contains $10 million in funding for a “Catalyst Fund” that is in the Sandoval budget to help lure businesses to Nevada, and to assist those businesses already here. There is a separate “Knowledge Fund” that is supposed to assist the two universities and DRI in doing research in areas the State has chosen to promote. However, there is no specific dollar amount yet designated for the state's contribution to the Knowledge Fund. The original version of the bill actually called for contributions directly from UNLV, UNR and DRI totalling $8 million, but that was dropped in the new version after concern was expressed by NSHE representatives, and the funding from the Knowledge Fund was left open. This is cause for concern among NSHE faculty, staff and administrators, who fear that any funding will in fact be taken from the overall NSHE allocation for the next biennium.

    The bill is supposed to be modeled after what has happened in Utah with the USTAR project that has helped rejuvenate the Utah economy as a result of the infusion of tens of millions of dollars into the two public universities there over the past several years. USTAR has been funded since 2006 with about $15 million per year from state funds, and also received $33 million from federal stimulus funds as well. Click here for information about USTAR.

    One person associated with USTAR testified on AB 449 indicating support for the effort and pointing out that Utah developed its model during a time of budget surpluses, whereas Nevada cannot have such an advantage given the budget situation here (the refusal to develop new sources of revenue for the State). He wished us luck in this effort. Many others testified in favor of AB 449, and it seems to be on its way to quick passage, even with no specific dollar amount yet designated for the state's contribution to the Knowledge Fund.
  • 31 Mar 2011 2:55 PM | Deleted user
    The Nevada System of Higher Education must submit complete budget-cutting plans to the state legislature by April 5, which will show the full impact of Governor Sandoval's budget on academic programs across the state in two versions: with and without a plan for campus consolidations. Campus administrators have begun releasing these updated plans for academic cuts, which will be implemented if the governor's budget is passed as proposed, and if NSHE takes no action to prioritize or streamline.

    As you all know, campus administrators have begun releasing updated lists of academic cuts that would be implemented if the Governor's budget were passed as proposed, and if the Nevada System for Higher Education takes no action to prioritize or streamline.

    UNLV would cut another 155 faculty lines in 36 programs, displacing over 2200 currently enrolled students. The UNR administration is expected to release its revised proposal this week, which could include an additional $17 million in cuts from academic units. At CSN, the administration has announced it would have to reduce access for 6,000 students, nearly 20 percent of its current full-time equivalent enrollment. Western Nevada also has announced closures of programs that would result in denied access for students and faculty layoffs.

    What can we do to avoid this assault on our university and our state's future?

    On the state level, please continue to use your own time and your own phones to call key state legislators. There are crucial points we need to make to key legislators.

    On the System level, encourage the Regents to prioritize instruction over administrative expenses and to engage in thoughtful discussion of curriculum and sound measures of efficiency. The System needs a plan to implement cuts that will ensure state dollars are devoted first and foremost to fulfilling the state's needs in research and instruction rather than preserving administrative structures or subsidizing secondary priorities such as athletics.

    On your campus, please engage thoughtfully – in your departments and colleges, meet with your chairs and deans. Inform yourselves about alternatives to program review which ought to be pursued before students are denied access, programs are cut irretrievably and faculty are laid off. Urge curricular priorities to be identified, faculty to be consulted and reorganizations to be pursued thoughtfully but fully.

    Join the Nevada Faculty Alliance and engage in the fight to save Nevada's future.
  • 31 Mar 2011 2:34 PM | Anonymous
    NFA Board member Sondra Cosgrove, College of Southern Nevada, filed this report from Tuesday's budget hearing in Carson City.

    Monday, March 28, the Nevada Senate met in a committee of the whole to review the Governor’s budget. Senate majority leader Steven Horsford highlighted the proposals for each area of the state budget, identifying not only more than $2.5 billion in proposed cuts to essential services, including a 29-percent cut for higher education from 2009 levels, but also over $1 billion in anticipated revenues to be borrowed from county reserves or from the 2013 biennial budget. This chart highlights the impacts.

    Most importantly, the discussion made clear that even if the legislature were to renew the package of sales taxes passed in 2009, which expire unless renewed by the 2011 legislature, the anticipated $780 million would provide only very limited relief for the state and would still leave a significant gap in the Nevada System for Higher Education budget.

    With particular relevance to the NSHE budget, Senator Horsford demonstrated the incorrect assumptions in the governor's claims that higher education is being cut by only 7 percent. He noted that in 2009, the legislature cut state general fund support for higher ed by 25 percent, then used federal stimulus funds to fill in some of the gap. But in this year's budget, the governor took the 2009 funding level as the base, from which he subtracted a cut of 23 percent in general fund support.

    While other agencies that received federal stimulus funds in 2009 would see some state funds restored in 2011 under the Sandoval budget (such as K-12, human services and public safety), higher ed would receive no additional state dollars – only a projected diversion of property tax money from Washoe and Clark counties, which is being disputed by the county governments. Moreover, the amount of these property tax revenues appears to be overestimated in the Governor's budget.

    So, higher ed, which already took the steepest cut of any major agency in 2009 (a 15-percent reduction in total allocations, even after tuition increases were figured in, then another 6.9 percent in the 2010 special session) would now be cut by another 17 percent after projected tuition increases. The result would be a base budget reduced by nearly 40 percent since 2007.

    At the hearing, Senate staff stated that Governor Sandoval’s budget assumes that the taxes increased in 2009 will sunset July 1, 2011. To make up for the deficit created by the sunset and continued economic weakness in the state, the Governor’s budget depends on cuts, borrowing tax revenue from the counties, economic recovery and growth, as well as borrowing against future tax revenue by issuing bonds. Staff reported that in order to replenish monies taken from other revenue streams through growth alone, Nevada’s economy would have to average 12.6-percent growth over the next six years.

    Senator Horsford made it very clear that the state can no longer count on gimmicks and moving money around to fund state services. He equated the governor’s budget to taking out a second mortgage to pay for everyday expenses. Senator Mike McGinnis argued that looking at what could happen in the future if the economy stays depressed was counter-productive, but others argued that cutting now and creating funding problems for the future were inappropriate budget strategies.

    Strategies proposed by the governor’s office included securitizing future tax revenues from the insurance premium tax (selling bonds backed by future revenue), which would generate approximately $190 million for this biennium, but would cost over $200 million in interest in addition to the bond principle; borrowing tax revenue from the counties, yet if the state takes county property tax money and the counties run short on revenues, then the counties may have to raise property taxes; and making cuts to state workers’ salary and benefits; with the total cut to salary and benefits possibly reaching over 10 percent.

    No one proposed alternatives to the governor’s budget during the meeting, but the media is reporting that a bill to remove the sunset provision on the 2009 tax increases will be submitted this week.

    It is not yet clear, however, what share of this money might be used to invest in higher education nor how this money would be distributed among System institutions.
  • 23 Mar 2011 11:32 AM | Anonymous
    NFA Board member Sondra Cosgrove, College of Southern Nevada, filed this report from yesterday's budget hearing in Carson City.

    On Tuesday, March 22, the joint Assembly Ways and Means and Senate Higher Education Committee met to discuss the state allocation to Nevada's System of Higher Education. Legislators pushed System Chancellor Dan Klaich to provide fuller detail about the System's plans to cut $162 million as proposed by Governor Sandoval. The subcommittee members asked Klaich to provide additional information about the impact on students by prioritizing instructional budgets, which include most faculty positions, over administrative costs and other non-instructional budget lines.

    Although the Board of Regents has constitutional authority over the System, the legislature determines the funding for each campus and other NSHE entities.

    The meeting began with Chair Steven Horsford stating his appreciation for the students, faculty, and community members who visited the legislature Monday, March 21, to express concerns over higher education budget cuts. 

    Senator Horsford began by asking NSHE Chancellor Dan Klaich if the Board of Regents had decided to take mergers and closures of campuses and sites off the table for budget cuts at the March 11 meeting. Chancellor Klaich affirmed. Institution presidents then provided a summary of their presentations from the Regents meeting on how each institution would handle budget reductions if the governor’s budget passed without change. 

    The presidents of UNLV and UNR presented specific academic programs that would be cut, including the exact number of faculty and staff to cut and the number of students affected. The colleges, which have different financial structures, focused on reducing access for students rather than eliminating programs.

    The System did not have a complete template available for the hearing to demonstrate the full impact of the Governor's budget. Some committee members wanted to know why there was a different emphasis between the two types of institutions. Assemblyman Marcus Conklin explained that, in general, the universities provide complete degree programs, while the community colleges provide core classes, certificates and other workforce-related services. After this explanation, all the presidents affirmed that their institutions were undergoing program/curricular review to be sure that duplication of programs and other services is eliminated when possible.

    Senator Horsford questioned the wisdom of reviewing programs before discussing workforce needs with the business community and before the Governor’s office has presented an economic development plan. Assemblyman Paul Aizley and Chancellor Klaich both emphasized that the Governor’s office and the legislature need to communicate the state economic development plan to NSHE officials and be ready to fund higher education sufficiently to accommodate those plans.

    Committee members questioned why the budget plans presented did not reduce NSHE’s budget to the level of cuts required by the Governor’s budget. They also wanted to know why mergers and closures had been taken out of the plans at the last Regents meeting if doing so made it impossible for NSHE to meet the Governor’s cuts.

    Committee members were also noticeably concerned about how students would be hurt, whether by eliminating programs at the universities or cutting class sections at the community colleges. Committee members asked Chancellor Klaich to ensure that the System was doing everything it could to move funding from non-instructional areas to academic budgets. Senator Horsford asked Chancellor Klaich to provide a budget reduction template that each institution can complete to show how much money is being allocated to funding in comparable areas.

    At the end of the meeting, Senator Horsford asked Chancellor Klaich to prepare a report due by April 5. First, the System Office needs to use a template for budget cutting for all institutions that shows the true amount that will need to be cut under the Governor’s budget. This must include mergers and closures. Second, the System Office needs to provide a report on reforms that will divert more funding to instruction; streamlining administrative costs is one area to be addressed. Third, the System needs to create a budget report that prioritizes all state funding in the NSHE budget, including non-instructional budgets such as inter-collegiate athletics, statewide programs and the University Press.

    At the end of the meeting, Board of Regents Chair James Dean Leavitt asked that legislators send a clear message on what Nevada values as a state. And he asked that they devote equivalent time to examining how to raise revenues as they have for cutting budgets.

    NFA lobbyist Jim Richardson testified that it was demoralizing for faculty to hear from the Governor that the education system in Nevada has failed. He pointed out that Utah employs two times as many faculty at its public higher education institutions than Nevada, despite the fact that Utah has a population only 100,000 people greater than Nevada.


  • 21 Mar 2011 11:01 AM | Anonymous
    Today's student protest in Carson City is attracting widespread media attention. Click the links below for the latest coverage from news outlets around the state:

  • 18 Mar 2011 3:34 PM | Anonymous
    Students from all over the state will be in Carson City Monday to speak to legislators about the importance of adequate funding for higher education. You can help. Please find time Monday to make eight calls on personal time, using personal phones.

    Targeted legislators phone numbers and emails:www.tinyurl.com/NVLeg2011

    Talking points and script for the calls: www.tinyurl.com/Faculty-calls

    Cuts alone are no solution. We need to let our legislators know that we expect more from them than just simple slogans. All NV legislators should come to the table prepared to find a balanced solution to the economic crisis. We have had enough of boom-and-bust cycles every few years that leave us vulnerable as a state to such crises as the one we are in now. We need broad-based, stable and fair revenue policy so that we can plan a secure future that offers real opportunities for ourselves and our children.

    Higher Education has been part of the solution. We have cut administrative costs and faculty salaries and benefits (with more cuts to come). We have cut low-yield programs and with them more than 100 faculty lines and 500 staff jobs statewide. We have increased class sizes and faculty course loads. Students have paid significantly more in tuition (with more fee hikes likely to come).

    Higher Education is how we get out of this crisis. It's how workers train and retrain for new jobs. It's how we diversify our economy from its current third-world model of resource extraction (i.e., mining) and tourism. Its how we reverse Nevada's currently hostile business environment which drives away innovative employers and talented workers. It's how we improve our quality of life and inform our citizenry that a better future is possible.

    But according to 2010 census data, Nevada currently has the lowest rate of college participation (college degrees plus those enrolled) in the country. We also have the lowest ratio of degree offerings in proportion to college-eligible population in the country. (Note that our neighbor, Arizona, has the highest ratio of degree programs to college-eligible population, and that as a result, it will likely have twice as high a college participation rate as Nevada by 2020.) Cutting more programs and raising tuition, in short, will make it harder to go to college in a state that desperately needs to improve its participation rate to compete in the 21st century.

    Investment in higher education returns at a high rate. A recent study showed that, for every public dollar invested in Nevada's colleges and universities, the state economy grew by $2.50. So by cutting public investment in higher education, we are leaving money on the table at a time when we badly need to find better bets than what we've been laying our money on in the recent past: mining, tourism and real estate development alone.

    Can you give thirty minutes of your own phone time on Monday to make eight calls that can help save higher education – and everything it represents: our hope for a different, better future in this state?

  • 10 Mar 2011 9:30 PM | Deleted user
    Presidents Smatresk and Glick this week released respective plans to cut UNLV's and UNR’s budgets by a combined $57 million in the coming biennium. They will present these plans at Friday's Board of Regents meeting for discussion, though no direct action is expected.
     

    UNR President Milt Glick notified his campus Monday that he will propose a plan to cut $26 million (which is only half of the reduction for UNR in the Governor's proposed budget). This plan, which he described in a letter to the campus, would cut 260 positions, of which 150 layoffs. The academic programs specified in this proposal are the School of Social Work, French, Theater and Dance, whose faculty would be laid off, through a process of curricular review. The remainder of the cut would be achieved through reduction in facilities management, information technology, student services, library and other support functions.

    UNLV President Neal Smatresk sent a letter and a plan to the UNLV campus Wednesday. It proposes to eliminate another 300 positions campus-wide, of which 160 academic positions, including 120 layoffs of full-time instructional lines (almost all of which are tenured or tenure-track). This would involve the elimination of more than 30 degree programs and 12 academic departments. It would reduce our student headcount by several thousand. This plan also includes anticipated across-the-board salary reductions of 5 percent and increases in student fees of greater than 10 percent each year of the biennium (including significantly sharper increases in those programs that will offer market-based tuition).

    These plans – and moreover, the state budget plan on which they are based – represent the end of Nevada's universities as we have known them. Everyone will be impacted – most immediately those whose jobs, livelihoods and careers are at risk; obviously our students; but also, all faculty who would remain would be working in a very different environment. Many were asking yesterday, "Are you safe?" No one should feel "safe" or unaffected.

    Friday the Board of Regents will discuss, but not act on, these plans. There are many questions that the Regents need to ask and much discussion they need to undertake about strategic planning and setting priorities. They also need to take responsibility for difficult decisions about tuition and fees, about whether they intend to preserve faculty rights during the implementation of cuts when they are made and, above all, about whether there are parts of the NSHE budget not yet discussed or potential sources of revenue or reserves that ought to be included in spending reduction plans given this extraordinary moment. It's unlikely that this will all be addressed on Friday, but we ought to at least wait and see.

    Obviously, the legislature now has a clear choice. Many legislators have said that they have not yet seen "pain" in the System of Higher Education, and especially its universities. There are some, clearly, who want only to inflict pain; there are even some who seem to think the highest priority at this moment is to authorize concealed lethal weapons to be carried on campus. In short, legislators need to take a clear look at what is in front of them. If they have problems with the credibility of the System leadership's claims in the past about budget impacts, then, by all means, address those concerns with those who made them in the past. But it is simply wrong to visit that issue on current and future students and faculty by pretending that unprecedented cuts of this magnitude do not represent "any real pain."

    On campus, the Faculty Advisory Committee has been working on several fronts and will likely become more visible after we get some greater degree of clarification following the Board meeting. The campus and statewide NFA have also been preparing for the political and legal issues that will soon be raised. In the meantime, please stay informed and involved. Many good ideas have been suggested, and in many cases I have urged those suggesting them to follow up – do the budget research, do the logistical planning, communicate the thought publicly. Now is not the time to ask, "What will be done for me?"

    Those who are
    NFA members at the time of an action (such as a layoff notice) would be eligible for legal defense support. But just as there is no angel that is going to solve the state's budget mess, there is no one idea, person or action that is going to solve its awful impact on our campus community. We, the faculty, have long been and remain a big part the solution, through our collective and individual sacrifices.

    We now need to find it in ourselves to respond to the magnitude of this threat. Faculty leadership, the NFA and faculty senates statewide are preoccupied on these issues almost full-time. Speaking for myself, I welcome everyone's involvement in all ways.

    No one else understands better than we do what is at stake.
  • 04 Mar 2011 3:39 PM | Anonymous
    Senator Horsford chaired yesterday’s joint meeting of the Higher Education subcommittees of the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways & Means committees. The hearing focused on major issues confronting NSHE and the Legislature as this crucial budget is dealt with.

    Chancellor Klaich’s opening statement stressed that the Executive Budget from the Governor would force dramatic changes in NSHE, erode the breadth and quality of our programs, and limit access for many students. Klaich indicated that there would be entire communities in rural areas with no access to higher education accept for distance ed courses.

    The committee discussed the Governor’s proposal to shift property tax revenues from the counties to the two universities, which Senator Horsford worried would cost jobs that would be funded through the two counties. He asked if some of the proceeds could also be shared with the colleges. Most importantly, he asked (but got no real answer) why the Governor did not ask all counties to participate in this particular “shared sacrifice”?

    Although he stressed that the Board had taken no position, the Chancellor expressedhis opinion that if taxes were diverted from any one county, they should be diverted from all, as the System serves the entire state. He also expressed his opinion that any funds should benefit all teaching institutions in the same way as federal ARRA fund did.

    There also was much discussion of the allocation of money in the NSHE budget, given that NSHE used current enrollments instead of a legislative-directed use of the three-year rolling average. Klaich made the point that the three-year rolling average would have resulted in a distorted budget that would still be dramatically underfunded under the Governor's proposal, resulting in major cuts to NSHE institutions either way. Senator Horsford asked for a revised budget using the three-year average, and the Chancellor agreed to furnish that information.

    The use of current enrollments rather than three-year rolling averages has been criticized by some who believe it undercounts enrollment at the rapidly growing community colleges, especially CSN. The Chancellor responded that using the three year rolling average would result in enrollment projections for community colleges that would be unattainable and unreasonable, since the rapid growth is unlikely to continue, given the scarcity of resources.

    Questions were asked about how salaries in NSHE compare to other institutions and whether NSHE institutions are losing some of their best faculty. (The NFA has addressed that question at length in previous postings.)

    Presidents from DRI, UNLV and UNR spoke to this issue, agreeing that our salaries are regionally competitive, but that we hire in a national and international market, that we are losing ground rapidly and that some top faculty are leaving or looking for other jobs.

    The three areas where some significant policy changes have been proposed by NSHE were also discussed, but it was unclear whether there was support from them among the legislators on the two subcommittees.

    These issues are 1. the retention of tuition and fees by each campus (without this money being reduced from its State General fund allocation); 2. allowing NSHE institutions to retain unspent general fund dollars at the end of a fiscal year; and 3. flexibility to allow moving funds from one budget category to another during this time of crisis.

    The WUE program, whereby residents of some counties close to Nevada get a price break on tuition, came under heavy scrutiny. Some made claims made that this program was costing us millions, since those students pay only 150 percent of resident fees, instead of the full non-resident tuition (which is considerably higher). This issue will have to be addressed by the regents because it has become a focus of concern by some legislators.
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