Las Vegas Sun

January 23, 2018

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University system snubs governor, won’t submit budget with cuts


Mona Shield Payne / Special to the Sun

Engineering staff and alumni chant while attending an Engineering Department budget rally March 5, 2010, on the UNLV campus.

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Chancellor Dan Klaich

CARSON CITY – Nevada’s System of Higher Education has refused to follow Gov. Jim Gibbons’ directive to state agencies to submit a 10 percent reduction in their upcoming budget.

Chancellor Dan Klaich told a legislative committee Thursday the 10 percent figure was “elusive.”

The system’s budget, he said, was cut 13 percent in the 2009 Legislature and then reduced another 6.9 percent in the special legislative session.

Klaich said the rejection was not to show disrespect. He noted previous cuts and said he didn't want to see staff and faculty speculating who would be dismissed under a proposed 10 percent cutback.

As an example of the last ordered reductions, Klaich told the Legislative Committee on the Review of Budgets of State Agencies that at UNR, 10 programs were eliminated and “a number of faculty was dismissed.”

The chancellor also told the committee that a “hard and comprehensive look” will be taken of tuition and fee policies. In the past, he said these were raised to make up for money cut by the Legislature.

For example, he said a student who signs up for 21 credits and then decides to drop some may not get money back.

The fiscal staff of the Legislature produced a list of possible state savings and efficiencies, including requiring that more student fees at UNLV and UNR support statewide programs that don't directly support universities and colleges.

At UNLV, the Legislature approved $2.5 million over the biennium for such statewide programs as The Center for Business and Economic Research, The Nevada Small Business Center, KUNV radio, Continuing Education, the Marjorie Barrick Museum and the Southern Nevada Writing Project.

“It does not appear unreasonable that a portion of funding for statewide programs at UNLV could be funded through tuition or fees rather than general fund,” said Fiscal Analyst Mark Krmpotic.

At UNR, the Legislature approved $10 million for programs such as Basque Studies, the Center for Justice Studies and the Bureau of Business and Economic Research. The Legislature also approved $2.3 million each year for the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.

Vice Chancellor Mark Stevens said the general fund budget for this fiscal year is $558 million, rising to $590 million in 2012 and $600 million in 2013.

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