Nevada State College President Richard Moore presented university regents a list of commitments and agreements he says will cover $1.3 million of the $2 million he needs to start a Henderson campus.
But one member of the board described the proposal as "almost smoke and mirrors."
Moore needs about $2 million in start-up funds to get the new four-year state college going but the bill providing him that money never made it through the 2001 Legislature. There is some $5 million in operating money for the college next year in the budget and about $16 million for its first classroom and student services building. But the building is also in limbo until Moore and other supporters raise about $10 million for its construction.
Moore and supporters led by Assembly Speaker Richard Perkins, D-Henderson, earlier told regents they could raise millions in private funds for the college. Moore and Henderson officials at one point estimated they might raise up to $20 million and Perkins later told the board that could go even higher because of strong community support in Henderson.
So the board gave Moore until this regent's meeting to get busy and raise the money.
Unable to come up with much hard cash, he presented them with a list of commitments Thursday relying heavily on existing resources of Community College of southern Nevada and the University of Nevada, Reno. He said those campuses would provide the new college with services ranging from registration of students to classrooms, computing and Internet services. And he valued those services and commitments from businessmen and other sources at a total of $1.3 million.
He argued this should justify his request for $700,000 in estate tax funds to cover the remaining start-up costs for the state college.
But CCSN President Ron Remington told the regents the estimates of what his campus could provide the state college "are new to us." Moore admitted the estimates were his own and had not been verified by CCSN, UNR and others on the list.
"Some of that disturbs me," said regent Tom Kirkpatrick. "It's almost like smoke and mirrors."
He suggested delaying the state college just six months until next year's budget money is available. But Moore said the need for the teachers and nurses the college will specialize in teaching is just too critical.
Kirkpatrick was alone in questioning the plan. Regents Steve Sisolak, Mark Alden and Jill Derby had also questioned funding plans for the state college in previous meetings. Derby told him at the last meeting that Thursday's August meeting would be where the "rubber meets the road."
But none of those three was at the meeting Thursday, leaving Kirkpatrick the only negative vote.
Moore must now take his financial proposals before the Interim Finance Committee which will have to approve the proposed "loan" from the estate tax fund.