NSHE Board of Regents District 9 | NevadaAppeal.com

NSHE Board of Regents District 9

Carol Del Carlo

Carol Del Carlo

Residence: Incline Village

Occupation: Retired, Community Volunteer & Political Activist

Age: 64

Contact: carol@caroldelcarlo.com; http://www.caroldelcarlo.com

Record of service: During my husband’s 22-year military career I served as the Family Support Coordinator in both peace and war time at platoon, company, and battalion level. The US Armor Association awarded me the Order of St. George in appreciation for my service.

Education: A.A. Fashion Trades, University of Nevada Reno; B.A. Business Management, University of Maryland, Overseas Division (Germany); Magna cum laude; M.A. Human Resources Management Chapman College

A brief statement about your platform

I am running to be a strong advocate and voice for the Parents and Students who live, work and study in District 9 which encompasses eight rural counties and a small portion of rural Washoe County. As businesses move into and grow their operations in Nevada, we must continue to offer a higher education system that meets and accelerates the current and future demand for workforce development. As a native Nevadan, I understand the importance of working together with all stakeholders to provide relevant education to meet Nevada’s diversifying economy. As Nevada’s only land grant university I strongly support agriculture and cooperative extension at UNR. I have close ties to the rural communities and will ensure their needs are fully understood and met while helping to support a seamless educational system, especially the community college system.

What’s the biggest issue facing higher education in Nevada and how do you solve it?

Funding is higher education’s biggest issue including the transparency necessary at the legislature to regain confidence. Earlier this year both sides of the aisles and the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce asked for the resignation of the chancellor for misleading lawmakers. Several lawmakers interviewed at the time stated they were working on legislation to restructure the system. The chancellor’s resignation was a step to help rebuild the trust between the legislature and the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE). The NSHE board needs to continue to build the trust of the legislature.

The current formula favors four year institutions and equalizing the formula for community colleges will greatly enhance their ability to offer needed workforce training demands. With technology changing so rapidly and the needs of a skilled workforce to meet the demands of the new industries moving into Nevada, the State should not rely on the two major universities to train the Nevada workforce. If there is a two-year or less certification for a specific industry, the role of NSHE is to identify which institution is best suited to implement the program. This is why public-private partnerships and community engagement are so important to the success of the system.

We need to support an education system in Nevada that ensures that the K-12 and Higher Education system are preparing our students for life long success by discussing the current and potential future issues of our public education system. I would propose that we add an ex-officio relationship with the Nevada State Board of Education and vice-versa to jump start our communication. This formalized arrangement could provide cross communication between K-12 and the higher education system. This arrangement also has the potential of providing an immediate lift to shared opportunities as the entities can leverage local, state and federal dollars to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our students and communities. All of these challenges can be overcome with proper leadership. I have the vision and the ability to be part of the solution.

How do you get more funding for the community colleges to support their job training programs?

The reality is that there may not be more state funding available in the 2017 legislative session. Recently a $400 million revenue shortfall was printed in the newspaper. Prior to this press release all of the community college presidents were requested to present their desired 2017 budget and then subsequently a second budget with a 5 percent decrease. This comes after the already severe budget cuts community colleges faced in the 2011 and 2013 sessions. Bridge funding was allocated in 2015 but is discontinued at the end of the fiscal year. Today the community colleges are operating at approximately 33 percent of their pre-recession budgets. The impact has been severe; the low hanging fruit is gone; and future cuts will potentially impact the goal of preparing our workforce for Nevada’s new economy. With this scenario in mind, the culture in Nevada needs to change and embrace education at all levels as a top priority for funding resulting in student success which in turn drives economic development.

With the creation of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development in 2011, our state has further embraced public-private partnerships (a nationwide trend) to diversify our tourism and mining based dependent economy. Community Colleges play an integral role in structuring diploma, certificate and degree programs to meet the demands of our diversifying economy. If there is not sufficient/further funding from the state, an option is to increase funding through more utilization of public private partnerships.

Raising tuition is not an option for me as we need to keep our community colleges affordable. In terms of college affordability with respect to median family income for students attending two year institutions, Nevada is last in the nation. Since we are not completely out of the worst recession in our state’s history, now is not the time to raise tuition. Community Colleges do not have established alumni associations where funds can be raised but their foundations do contribute to funding and will need to continue to do so in the future.

Sara Lafrance

Occupation: Retired from software industry

Contact: 775 298-5236; lafranceforNV@gmail.com; web site: saralafrance.com

Record of service: The University of Nevada Foundation Board of Trustees (Chair 2010); The University of Nevada College of Engineering Advisor Board (Chair 2008); The University of Nevada College of Liberal Arts Advisory Board; UNR Nevada Research and Innovation Corporation. Sara Lafrance co-founded and served as President of Century Analysis, Inc., a software manufacturer that provided integration solutions to large commercial, industrial, and healthcare enterprises, from 1975 until its sale in 1998. Under her leadership, the company achieved a preeminent position in the enterprise application integration marketplace, with a product line and customer base that became dominant in its industry sector. She was a frequent speaker at many industry, academic and investment forums. Since returning to Nevada in 1998, Sara has been involved in higher education, serving on fiscal and academic boards as well as the Nevada Research and Innovation Corporation, a UNR board chartered to license/ commercialize university research projects with promise. She has also been involved in a university scholarship program for gifted students of great financial need in the African country of Ghana since 2007. In 2011, Sara was named the University of Nevada’s “Alumna of the Year.” She was the Commencement speaker for the University of Nevada Colleges of Engineering and Science graduation ceremony in May 2015 and the keynote speaker for the College of Engineering Awards Banquet in May 2016. Sara is endorsed by the most respected voices in the Northern Nevada Educational Community.

Education: Sara holds a B.A. in English/Journalism from the University of Nevada, Reno, and a M.A. in Organizational Change from Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY.

A brief statement about your platform

As an entrepreneur in the technology sector for 23 years, I was a job creator and understand the needs of companies moving to the state.

And as president of one of the few companies in my industry that was self-financed, I also understand fiscal responsiveness and how to be administratively efficient while ensuring money for necessary projects and programs.

Having been involved with higher education for the past 14 years, I believe:

There needs to be a commitment to workforce development, especially at the community college level. Career and technical courses, as well as industry recognized certification programs, are critical to fill the new jobs coming to the State. Vital too is a strong university system with high-quality professional degree programs and research.

There needs to be initiatives to streamline costs and identify new areas of funding. This includes public-private partnerships as well as creative ways to consolidate back-end functions to reduce administrative costs.

There must be educational access in the rural areas and ensure quality affordable education for all of Nevada’s remote and ethnic communities. Initiatives such as local branch campuses and programs for distance learning need to be developed to ensure that educational opportunities are inclusive.

What’s the biggest issue facing higher education in Nevada and how do you solve it?

With the state in a period of change and facing strong economic redevelopment, it is important that its intuitions of higher learning work to provide programs that prepare graduates for the jobs of today and the future. This is vital at both the university level as well as at the community college.

One of the biggest challenges to achieving this goal however is money. State funding has continually been decreasing. During the economic downturn, it was reduced even further with several of the state’s institutions yet to recover. Today, the state’s contribution to the Nevada institutes of higher learning represents 25% or less of their budget.

Finding a way to balance needs versus funding remains a serious issue. Individual institutions must look to contributions, grants, and corporate partnerships to make up the shortfall. Public-private partnerships are another potential funding mechanism for an institution’s projects and programs.

Academically, Nevada’s graduation rate remains an ongoing issue. UNLV has a four-year graduation rate of only 14%; UNR is 21%. When factored over 6 years, the average for the two schools is 46%. Nationally, the average is 60%. Initiatives such as “15 to Finish” need to be promoted to encourage better rates of completion.

Higher education must be inclusive to Nevada’s many rural communities. The cost per student for remote campuses is significantly higher. More creative ways need to be found to provide distance learning and career training so that all Nevadans are able to participate.

And with the cost of education continuing to increase, creative ways need to be found so that learning becomes more affordable. Innovation programs such as Jump Start, where high school juniors and seniors can take college level classes and graduate with credits up to an associate degree reduces the overall cost of higher education. And the recent certification programs by the community college system in high schools makes it possible for a graduating student to achieve trade or national certification and get a well-paying position upon graduation. More initiatives must be found so that cost is not a deterrent for higher education study.

How do you get more funding for the community colleges to support their job training programs?

Community colleges are the workforce development engines in the state and, as such, provide open access. This means that they are often faced with students who are not college ready. Community colleges educate students with the greatest needs, but yet have far less to spend per pupil than four-year institutions.

Jobs relying on education and training from associate degrees are predicted to grow faster than any other training source in the coming years. Yet developing skilled workers has a higher cost per student. Teaching in technical fields often requires regular investments in up-to-date equipment and retaining highly skilled instructors, which can be a challenge for underfunded community colleges.

Encouraging public-private partnerships as ways to enhance funding or for the acquisition of necessary equipment has proven of great value. Two strong examples are the TMCC Edison Campus for Advanced Manufacturing, whereby the most sophisticated equipment was able to be acquired, or the WNC partnership between Western Nevada College and Panasonic Energy Corporation of North America, that provide students with skills in areas such as AC/DC electrical, pneumatics, relay controls and hydraulics and use of Web-based simulators. Stronger incentives need to be developed to continue to connect community colleges and businesses so programs like these can grow.

In terms of state funding, the Nevada Board of Regents formula, which is based primarily on class completion, is not conducive the new charter for Community Colleges. There needs be a focus on changing the way career and technical education courses are funded as higher education officials estimate training for these types of programs will come at a cost of about $12 million in additional funds statewide.

Another area of funding is to find money from within. One recent example is the consolidation of administrative functions for the various campus police forces without affecting the quality or size of the police at each campus. This initiative provided significant savings to the various schools, which were applied to college academic programs. More effort needs to be put into identifying other areas where such savings can be realized.