Western Nevada College president calls for study of community colleges | NevadaAppeal.com

Western Nevada College president calls for study of community colleges

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Western Nevada College President Carol Lucey has added her voice to the chorus of calls for a thorough interim study of Nevada’s community college system.

Senate Bill 391 by Sen. Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas, calls for a study of “governance, funding and structure” of the colleges. Lucey told the Senate Finance Committee the interim study is much-needed.

“I’ve been president at WNC for 14 years,” she said. “When I came to the state, I was very excited by the desire to be part of diversification of the Nevada economy.”

Lucey said she has worked hard to help diversify the economy.

She said she agrees that the study should look at how the community colleges, are funded as well as how they are governed.

Nevada is one of only a handful of states that govern community colleges exclusively at the state level, Cegavske said. The colleges — Western Nevada College, Great Basin College, Truckee Meadows Community College and the College of Southern Nevada — are all under the umbrella of the Board of Regents. That board also manages the University of Nevada, Reno, UNLV and Henderson State College.

That puts them in direct competition with the universities for funding, she said.

Those colleges have different functions than the four-year colleges, and all options should be considered, Cegavske said.

There have been discussions in the past about whether local governments should not only have a say in running the community colleges, but some responsibility for helping to fund them. Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno, said that in Illinois, where he grew up, local government ran the community colleges.

Cegavske made it clear her bill involves taking a thorough look at those issues during the interim.

The chancellor’s office and Truckee Meadows Community College also backed the study.

No action was taken on the measure.