weather icon Clear

Higher ed board approves 2-year budget reduction

Updated April 14, 2020 - 3:21 pm

The Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents on Friday approved a budget reduction of $124.7 million for the next two years in response to the economic decline caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Steve Sisolak asked for budget reduction proposals from all state agencies that show a 4% cut for Fiscal Year 2020, which ends June 30, and a 6%, 10% and 14% reduction in Fiscal Year 2021, which begins July 1.

Under the 10% reduction proposal, administrative faculty and professional staff would have a 2.3% reduction in pay or 6 furlough days. Under the 14% reduction proposal, administrative faculty and professional staff would have a 4.6% reduction in pay or 12 furlough days.

The chancellor and the Council of Presidents put together the budget reduction scenarios that aim to protect NSHE’s ability to deliver on its mission. The proposals were presented to the Board of Regents at an emergency teleconference meeting on Friday, April 10.

Each of the proposals submitted to the Regents emphasized mitigating financial impacts to low-income students and avoiding layoffs. NSHE used approximately $60 million from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act to first meet the gap in the budget reduction.

NSHE then used savings from not filling vacant positions, enacting a hiring freeze, repurposing capital funds and reducing operating costs and other contracts as part of the reduction proposal. To help make ends meet, NSHE focused on furloughs for administrative faculty and professional staff to be effective in the fiscal year 2021.

NSHE Chancellor Thom Reilly said that, similar to the economic slowdown during the Great Recession of 2007-2009, the agency has turned to a “shared sacrifice” model when considering this budget reduction.

“The weeks and months ahead will be a difficult burden for all of us to shoulder, however, if we share this burden the individual sacrifice can be lessened,” Reilly said.

The NSHE also proposed a temporary per-credit surcharge in proportion to current student fees. At UNR and UNLV, the surcharge will be $6 or 2.5% for undergraduates and $8 or 2.7% for graduate students. At Nevada State College, it will be $5 or 2.9% for undergraduates and $5 and 2.1% for graduate students. At College of Southern Nevada, Great Basin College, Truckee Meadows Community College and Western Nevada College, it will be $3 or 2.8% for lower division and 1.7% for upper division.

By adding this per credit surcharge, NSHE will be able to use funding from the CARES Act to support low-income students during this unprecedented event, Reilly explained.

“If we did not apply furloughs and the temporary per-credit surcharge, we could be facing hundreds of layoffs which would adversely affect student services and student success,” he said.

“By enacting these budget adjustments across the entire system, we will be able to use the CARES Act funds and Student Access fees to minimize the impact on low-income students and keep our institutions focused on student success,” said Jason Geddes, chair of the Board of Regents. “These are difficult decisions to make, but together we can emerge from this economic downturn stronger than ever.”

The proposed budget cuts will be sent to the governor to be reviewed.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
FEMA vaccination clinic shifts to Beatty

Hundreds of Nye County residents braved warm temperatures in order to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations in Pahrump on Thursday.

WGU unveils Essential Workers Scholarship

Western Governors University Nevada announced Wednesday a new scholarship program for essential workers seeking degrees in high-demand career fields including business, teaching, information technology and health professions, such as nursing.

Hospice symposium to focus on equity in end-of-life care

Nathan Adelson Hospice will host its 17th annual Multicultural Symposium virtually beginning at 1 p.m. April 14 with a variety of topics addressing equity in end-of-life care.

State’s tax amnesty period ends May 1 for businesses

There is less than one month left of Nevada’s Tax Amnesty program that began Feb. 1. Business entities that have unpaid tax debt can file/pay their taxes online or download the missing tax returns that are available on the Department of Taxation’s website https://tax.nv.gov/

Fleeing man arrested at gunpoint in Pahrump

One man was arrested and taken into custody following a disturbance at Bank of America just after 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 6.

Nye County votes to fully reopen, sidestep mask mandate

On Tuesday, April 6, the Nye County Commission, after several hours of public comment and debate, voted 5-0 to approve fully reopening Nye County and its businesses, and to essentially do away with the mask mandate.

Letters to the Editor

Good, bad, and ugly are present in today’s society

Overnight oatmeal is power packed for pennies

When it comes to cheap eats it doesn’t get more frugal and fabulous than oatmeal. It’s a whole grain, packed with fiber and nutrients, the taste is compatible with endless variations, and costs mere pennies per serving. Are you sold yet? How about this: you can literally make it while your sleep. Does that appeal to your inner multi-tasker? Yup. Mine, too.

Drive-thru Senior Fair set at Inspirations in Pahrump

Pahrump Valley seniors should mark their calendars for Saturday, April 17 when they will have a chance to head out to the Drive-Thru Senior Fair at Inspirations Senior Living Center, where there will be a plethora of organizations gathered for an event intended to help educate the older population about the area’s many valuable resources.

Pahrump’s Community Easter Curbside hailed as huge hit

At 10 a.m. on a bright and sunny Saturday morning, a line of vehicles started forming at the NyE Communities Coalition and suddenly it was go-time for the dozens of volunteers on hand for this year’s Community Easter Curbside Pick-up Event.