Budget Update

Good morning,

As the budget process continues in Carson City, I felt an update to each of you was in order so you know what is happening.

Last Friday, the Nevada Senate and Assembly held their respective hearings on the higher education budget for the next biennium.  You may have read or heard about this in the media.  At the hearings, Chancellor Klaich presented the Regents’ budget and a four-point plan, further developed yesterday, for a system solution.

The four-point plan is a sharing of pain among students, employees and the state, and it presumes a salary rollback for all employees as recommended by the Governor.  In addition, the four points are:  1) balance the state allocation to NSHE equally for each year of the biennium, a process also known as “smoothing,” so that CSN receives the same budget reduction each year. 2) fee and tuition increases of 13% in each year of the next biennium with 15% netted for student financial aid, 3) institutional operating reductions similar to the same level as the contributions we are asking students to make and 4) additional state general fund support. The four parts of this plan are linked together for a comprehensive funding model of higher education that includes state, student, and institutional participation.

The legislative hearings included testimony from business leaders about the need for more revenue to support colleges and universities in the state, as well as further descriptions of impacts on students.  Both the Senate and Assembly received the information and will act next month on all budget decisions.

As you may know, proposed institutional plans for budget cuts have been presented to the Board of Regents and to legislative committees.  Importantly, these plans, specifically in CSN’s case, cover the budget reduction recommended by the governor.  Let me repeat that:  CSN’s proposed plan covers the budget cut recommended by the governor (i.e., without “smoothing”).

CSN’s plan proposes a 13% increase in enrollment fees with a set aside of 15% of the new revenue for financial assistance for students in each of the two years of the next biennium.  We have also proposed institutional operating reductions.  What we are now including in our planning is “smoothing,” the balancing of cuts between the two fiscal years as recommended by the four-point plan.  This will require more reductions in the first year of the biennium and fewer cuts in the second.  We believe that “smoothing” is to our advantage even though additional cuts will be needed the first year.   We will be required to make more difficult decisions to accommodate this change, but it should be worth it for future biennia.

In general, what this means is that there will not be large scale layoffs if this plan holds.   It does mean that our access mission will diminish and operating budgets will be reduced.  As part of this change, I am suspending indefinitely the search for a vice president for administrative operations and examining other non-instructional open positions. We will also be implementing several administrative consolidations to preserve our instructional core.

Apart from our budget situation, our mission proceeds:  the delivery of excellent instruction and of a high-quality collegiate experience for students.  We will move forward relying you, our dedicated faculty and staff, as we close of this academic year.  CSN will continue its commitment to quality training and education next year, and I am optimistic that our premiere level of service to our community will remain a hallmark of CSN.   It is a privilege for me to be part of the CSN tradition of excellence.

My very best regards to all of you.  Thank you for all you’re doing for CSN and our students.

Mike

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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