Friday, March 27, 2009

Update on NSHE budget hearing

At this morning's "work session" of the Higher Ed joint subcommittee, there was considerable discussion of the funding disparities that would result among institutions if the current NSHE formula is used to the General Fund allocation. Speaker Buckley made clear that legislative leaders do not want this formula to be applied in a way that would have such disparate impact institutions (particularly on UNLV).

There are now two budget proposals under discussion, one for a level of funding equivalent to 2006, which would amount to an 18% cut for the System and a 25% cut for UNLV. The second proposal is to be based on the need of the System to fulfill its "core mission," which would likely result in a budget that allocates 90% of the 2007 budget. If the formula for distribution of money is not amended, that would result in a cut of about 13.5% for UNLV.

At the general level, the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor testified on behalf of the System and agreed to support the legislature's support for a request from the federal Department of Education for a waiver of requirements to receive federal stimulus dollars. But the Chancellor continued to insist that the Systme cannot establish a budget until they know the amount of funding that will be available from the state, and legislative leaders continued to insist they cannot determine a level of funding until the System identifies its needs to fulfill its "core mission."

Finally, and perhaps ominously (or perhaps strategically), Vice-Chancellor Dan Klaich clarified his remarks of a week ago about the imact of a budget at 2006 levels on faculty. It had been reported that he had said such a budget would not result in layoffs of faculty, but he clarified that this would only be the case if federal stimulus dollars were added on to a 2006-level allocation. At a level of a 2006 allocation, the consequences would be dire.

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