Last Wednesday, the legislative Committee to Study the Funding of Higher Education
held its final scheduled meeting
at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, beginning with public comment at 9 a.m. It reviewed the work of its three subcommittees, which studied, respectively, the Nevada System of Higher Education's proposed alternative formula
, the proposed performance pool and the prospect of pursuing local funding for the state's community colleges.
Last Friday, even before the committee completed its work, the Board of Regents held a special meeting to approve NSHE's budget request to the governor
for the 2013-2015 biennium. That budget request is based, to some degree, on the Chancellor's base formula proposal, in that it uses the allocation outcomes generated by one of the many simulations that the System has run during the committee's deliberations.
The regents' action seems to have confused several of the local news reporters, who covered the meeting and reported both the projected allocations and the "per-pupil funding" values as if the allocation levels were already adopted and as if enrollment/course completion figures were fixed and stable from year to year.
But the biggest news concerning the NSHE budget request, which none of the printed stories picked up on, is that when one considers the actual request to the governor, no campus is actually projected for anything close to a cut – because the amounts actually requested for all campuses (in columns 2 and 3) include, per the governor's instructions, restoration of the 2.3-percent pay cut for all faculty and staff, the restoration of the 2.5-percent loss of compensation due to the furlough/unpaid leave, and the restoration of a performance-based merit pool equal to 2.5 percent of total payroll on each campus.
We are pleased to note, in passing, that the chancellor's budget proposal treats the money requested to restore and enhance salaries, as we had encouraged in earlier posts, as direct allocations to each campus' base budget, to be allocated over and above the formula-determined allocations.
This is very welcome news for all faculty and staff, who must now prepare to justify and advocate for this potential restoration of compensation in the 2013 legislature.
Friday's action is not a particularly surprising development, as it suggests more or less what many have expected about the 2013 budget request all along: that it would be based upon figures not directly generated by any formula, old or new, and would closely resemble the share of the NSHE budget allocated to each campus in FY '12.
Thus, with the Regents' budget request out of the way, the study committee has a very real opportunity in its final meeting today to look not
at the very near-term of the 2013 allocations, but rather at the longer-term principles underlying the formula, and to recommend ways to clarify and resolve the technical issues of discipline weighting, course completion definition, and the implementation of the performance pool. It should do so not
with an eye towards the upcoming legislative session but rather to the one after that.
... And the one after that. And the one after that.