China Spring asks state to increase funding

District Judge Dave Gamble and China Spring Youth Camp Director Steve Thaler on Friday asked the state to add nearly $990,000 to the camp's budget for the next two years.

The camp is a regional facility for juvenile offenders, primarily supported by Nevada's counties, excluding Clark. In addition to the boys facility at China Spring in Douglas County, the complex includes the Aurora Pines Girls Facility. Counties pay according to how many juveniles they send to the camp and for how long.

The governor's budget proposes $697,712 in state funding for the next two years. Gamble told a subcommittee of Senate Finance and the Assembly Ways and Means committees that is the same allocation they received from the state for this biennium and just 29 percent of the facility's $2.4 million annual budget.

In the past, the state provided 37 percent of the total budget. With the reduced state contribution, Gamble said, they are "constantly sandbagging the counties."

"There's no predictability what the counties will be charged," he said.

Gamble said the camp needs an additional $25,364 a year to cover rising costs of electric and other utilities, self insurance, nursing and food.

He said it will take $126,473 next year and $179,326 the following year to cover salary, retirement, group insurance and other rising employee costs.

But the big item on the list is $309,665 in 2006 and $322,873 in 2007 to reduce the student-staff ratio to 10-1 during service hours and 20-1 during the night.

Thaler said those ratios are higher than the 8-1 ratio recommended nationally as a standard in juvenile justice facilities. The state is seeking 8-1 for its own facilities - the Nevada Youth Training Center in Elko and the girls facility in Caliente.

Together, those additions would raise the state contribution to just over $1 million year - 37 percent of the total budget. Gamble said they have requested legislation to split the cost of operations 50-50 but would be willing to settle for the historic funding level.

"We would be happy if we were restored to 37 percent," he said.

The subcommittee took no action on the request.

- Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.


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