Letter: education dollars not spent wisely

The university system appears to be spinning out of control. We are told Nevada must have a law school, a dental school and a pharmacy school, all because of our rapid growth.

If 8,000 people are moving into our state each month, isn't it reasonable to assume that a representative portion of them would be dentists, attorneys and pharmacists? I guess we must be stopping attorneys, dentists and pharmacists at the border and refusing them entry into the state!

Next, we are told we need the Redfield Campus near the Mount Rose Highway, a Henderson four-year college and finally UNLV campuses encircling Las Vegas! For the amount of money we will spend on some of these programs, we could buy new Corvettes, pay the tuition and send the lucky students off to Stanford.

The university system had an opportunity to parlay their share of the estate tax into a permanent source of funding for higher education. A $100 million endowment was in place and would grow to a $1 billion fund in less than 20 years. It's evident the money is being spent, rather than invested for the future. Fiscal responsibility has not been the hallmark of the university system, as evidenced by a recent legislative audit. We deserve better.

Obviously, there's not enough money for these programs that have been approved by the board of regents. That is why the bill has been laid on our doorstep. Regent Mark Alden, who is a CPA, wants to raid the property tax/sales tax coffers, no matter that local governments and local school districts are struggling to meet their state and federal mandates.

We haven't been told the basis for the approval of any of these new programs or campus locations. The board of regents seems to approve every program brought before them by the administration. I feel a bit like a parent in Toys-R-Us with 11 adolescents! I see it, I want it, buy it! Thankfully, the regents don't have taxing authority.

Nevada would do well to study the Cleveland model. In that model, business, education and government teamed up to conduct a thorough analysis of future labor needs to serve business and industry, particularly high tech in the Cleveland area. Using that analysis as a basis, they restructured the entire educational curriculum from kindergarten through the university to build for the future. Without that analysis we are in danger of jumping on our horse and riding off in all directions at once.

I'm confident that if the board of regents represented us, they would be putting most of our higher education dollars in to the community colleges and in particular four-year technical/vocational programs. Let common sense rule, not egos or political careers.


Carson City


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