WNC receives partial reprieve
Sen. Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka, found most of the money he said is needed to keep the state’s two small rural community colleges — including Western Nevada College — intact.
“I badly need another million,” he said two hours before the end of the 2013 legislative session.
Goicoechea said in hearings about the university system budget that WNC and Great Basin College are the only institutions taking a serious cut under the new university system funding formula and that, after the cuts they’ve endured over the past five years, they can’t absorb any more damage.
Under the governor’s budget, he said, they would take a 10 percent cut the first year of the biennium and 15 percent the second year.
What Goicoechea got Monday night was $2.56 million from within the university system budget. With that money, he said, the first year-cut remains at 10 percent but the second year reduction is reduced to 5 percent.
Another million dollars would reduce the cuts to 5 percent each year, he said.
“They can survive that,” Goicoechea said of the colleges.
But as of the end of the session, he said he was unable to find that additional money.
While Goicoechea said the cut for Great Basin was only a couple of million dollars, “when you take a couple of million dollars out of a $15 million budget, that’s a lot.”
He even promised to vote against the state budget unless the two institutions got some help.
WNC is headquartered in Carson City but serves Western Nevada including Douglas and Churchill counties. Great Basin serves rural Nevada from Elko across the northern counties.
The new funding formula was recommended by an interim study committee and adopted by the Board of Regents. Included in recent recommendations was a hold-harmless provision for WNC and Gbc. Gov. Brian Sandoval rejected that and called for a 10 percent cut the first year, followed by 15 percent in the second. Southern Nevada lawmakers made more changes, but the net reduction was still about 10 percent and 15 percent.
That would put WNC at just under $26.8 million for the biennium and Gbc at $24.8 million. Even with the addition of the $2.56 million, the two schools will get less state funding than they do under their current budgets.
“This is still too bad a cut,” WNC President Carol Lucey said after the committee hearing.