Budget Cuts and Other CSN Information

CSN Colleagues:

Since the beginning of the year, we have been engaged in an intensive effort on multiple fronts to address recurring and shifting financial challenges as Nevada continues its chronic fiscal crisis.  The crisis has affected all of our employees and students, and our work to address the problem has required the energy and commitment of many of our faculty and staff.   To all of you I express my appreciation for your advocacy of education, your thoughtful consideration of solutions, and your patience as this crisis seems to repeat itself year after year.

What began as a 6-8 percent budget cut grew within weeks to 20-22 percent.  Thankfully, as a result of the special session of the Legislature, the operating reduction has settled at 6.9 percent.  This represents about $ 1.9 million for the rest of this fiscal year and $5.7 million for the next for CSN.  We will continue to use our budget reduction, Faculty Senate budget and program evaluation committees to finalize the reduction plans and to help us prepare for the next biennium.   

Legislation regarding a 4/10 work schedule is still under review by legal staff at system and institutional levels.  We need the results of the legal interpretation to determine how the program might impact CSN and NSHE.  We will know more following the Board of Regents meeting, taking place at the Charleston campus, on Thursday and Friday. I encourage you to attend as the budget and other issues will be extensively discussed. If you cannot attend in person, a link will be available on our home page to watch the meeting live online.

The latest situation facing us for the remainder of this biennium and into the next is on a scale unmatched in recent memory.  The Legislature used a combination of operating cuts, salary reductions, furloughs, and revenue increases to balance the state budget—for now.   Moreover, looking ahead to the next biennium, the fiscal challenge for the state is daunting, as we anticipate a deficit the size of half the state’s budget.  One time funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) will no longer supplement the state operating budget in 2011.   As a result, the next three to four years will see major financial difficulties for Nevada and CSN.  

Priorities during past budget cuts have served us well:  preserve jobs, protect the core mission of access and instructional quality, and prepare for a more strategic future for CSN.  The magnitude of the current crisis will test our ability to hold to these priorities.  The plan we are in the process of developing includes bold actions to advance our mission with more long-term decisions, guided by student demand and community needs.

Our budget planning will meet the state requirement for budget cuts and also leverages important initiatives for our future.  Our goal is not just to achieve cost savings, but to build a culture of continuous improvement, institutional strength and viability, and provide support for our academic mission more efficiently.

Strategic Planning and Positioning

Concurrent with our budget planning, our strategic planning continues to move forward.  We expect the draft phase of our strategic updating to be completed by the end of March, at which point we will open the draft for input from the college community.  As you may know, we launched a Strategic Planning Process, with extensive faculty, staff and student participation across the institution, to ensure that CSN is well positioned to maintain its unique standing in the greater Las Vegas community. 

Reorganization and Restructuring

Finally, among the committees looking at CSN, we have launched an organizational review committee so that CSN can function more effectively and become more viable in the future.  In the past, we have initiated best practices in facilities management and finance.  We will build on these efforts, by rethinking how other aspects of the College are organized to improve student success and will be sharing more details in the coming weeks.

As always, if you have questions, please let me know.

Regards to all,


About Michael.Richards

The Board of Regents unanimously selected Dr. Michael D. Richards in May 2008 as the eighth permanent President of the College of Southern Nevada, where he supports the College’s mission to create an educated and diverse workforce for Southern Nevada. Dr. Richards came to CSN in 2005 as the vice president for academic affairs, leaving his position as associate provost at Southern Utah University after 23 years. While at SUU, he also had the positions of vice president for planning and technology, vice president for university affairs and associate professor of business. He began his career in higher education as an adjunct faculty member at a community college in Alabama, and in the mid-1970s was on the faculty at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. He brings a wealth of collegiate and business, four-year and two-year institutional experience to the College. He has taught English and management courses and has developed a record of scholarship through publications and presentations at state, regional, national and international conferences. Dr. Richards holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and philosophy (1970) from Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, a Master of Arts in English from Utah State University (1972) and a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Denver (1979). The Board of Regents appointed Dr. Richards as interim president of CSN in August 2007 after the departure of President Richard Carpenter (2004-2007). The regents then selected Dr. Richards for the permanent position following a national search by the ad hoc CSN President Search Committee. As President of the College, Dr. Richards is responsible for 2,274 employees, approximately 43,000 students and a budget of more than $130 million.
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