Letters to the editor
Think twice before cutting education
It’s time to open your eyes and look around. I owned a restaurant until the non-smoking law effectively closed my doors. The job applications I received over the past nine years were pathetic. They were written mostly by functional illiterates. They can’t read, either, as evidenced by their questions when following a simple recipe. And we’re cutting funding for education? Many indicated they wanted to attend community colleges. How they’ll get in is beyond me, but if the community colleges can teach them to read and write, God bless them.
And why are we down on revenue and have to cut the budget? After the non-smoking law passed, I ran at a 30 percent loss, about $80,000. State sales tax lost was almost $5,700 in revenue. Just from one small business. Drive around Carson and see how many buildings are vacant. Our population is about 56,000 people. Why do we have/need 6 pawnbrokers, 5 payday loans, 9 check cashing stores? What are we licensing?
The building department has found more problems with the Ormsby House. Get off your pompous posteriors, fire up that joke of a building department, and get this building open. Why are the old K-Mart and Wal-Mart still vacant? Why is the car mall not being developed? Why aren’t we attracting higher paying industrial and manufacturing businesses to the east side ghost town, I mean industrial area?
Cut funding for education, when I already have to drive to Douglas County just to find a bookstore? Don’t you think this is seriously out of whack? If it doesn’t, I don’t want you balancing my budget. Education cannot be cut. People are out of work, businesses are down, which means more layoffs. which means higher unemployment, less spending and more businesses closing. See the snowball effect? Aren’t state and local governments helping each other?
WNC should work to ‘drive costs out’
WNC President Carol Lucey expressed concerns about the cuts the governor wants in her budget. As a retired GE (Bently Nevada) manager I can understand her anguish. Most of my 28 years as a manager I faced the same challenge. Each year when we created our budget we were required to hold the line or cut the budget by some number. In the later GE years those cuts were as much as 15 percent each year.
I would advise Ms. Lucey that WNC should be teaching students to meet the needs of the employers that will need trained employees. One of the ways to teach is to lead by example. The government, we the people, is not asking much of WNC. Cut your budget this one year. We need you to learn what we in industry have to contend with every year, work smarter, faster, better. The battle call of business is “drive costs out.”
What specifically can be done to drive costs out of education? The list of cuts in the Appeal pointed out some red lights to me. I understand technical support costs and those numbers concern me. Ms. Lucey indicated that we are spending $112,000 in salaries for each support person. For that price, these people better walk on water. In the current Western Nevada job market, you should be able to get 2 qualified techs for that price.
What is this contract thing? Most businesses in Nevada don’t have contracts with their employees. The contract issues may not be under WNC’s control but you might let the taxpayers know whose idea it was to use contract workers in a “right to work” state.
Ms Lucey included the CC Hi-Tech Center and rural centers as candidates for closure. I disagree with closing the CC Hi-Tech Center. Going forward, the tech center is where WNC will find the talent needed to solve WNC’s as well as other state budget issues. At this point in time if WNC is not using technology to its fullest extent to drive out costs, then they are missing a great opportunity. Today there is no reason to use satellite facilities. Students in out-lying areas should attend class online, via personal computers or at video centers in local high schools. Not only could WNC better accommodate the current rural student population, but can expand their reach into areas of western Nevada not previously covered without increasing teaching staff. Budget reductions can be achieved by eliminating rural facility costs and increasing WNC tuition income. A win-win for WNC, students, and taxpayers. I know from personal experience at GE that on-line training is used very effectively every day in businesses all over the world.
Ms. Lucey needs to act like a manager and deal with the issues. If that is not possible, we need to hire a professional manager to move the school forward.