Short-term education cuts affect Nevada long term
Nevada is not known as a state with a great higher education system. In most categories, it ranks near the bottom.
So when the state talks about cutting back on an already under-funded system to make up for current tax revenue shortfalls, one must look at what the real cost of those cuts will be.
Western Nevada College could be facing the closure of its rural programs that serve 955 students. What happens to those students when the college closes the doors on those programs? Some may be able to commute to other schools, while others will have their future ripped away from them, and thus endanger the state’s future as well.
Education is an investment. This state’s dependency on a few low-skill industries like gaming leaves the economy in danger of constant turmoil.
In order to create a bright future for Nevada’s economy, its education system has to do better than producing blackjack dealers and lap dancers. In order to attract the kinds of businesses that create good, high-paying jobs, this state must invest in education, especially at the college level.
Companies will not move here if they can’t find qualified candidates to fill those jobs. And educated workers from other states will not move here if their children can’t get good educations.
Certainly there is fat within some of the state’s colleges and universities that deserves to be cut. Sometimes it’s good to force institutions to look carefully at their budgets and find new ways to operate, using less dollars and possibly obtaining better results.
But we have to stop with shutting out current students.
It is time for the state to start looking at other areas of the budget to cut that don’t sacrifice Nevada’s future. Education may have to do more with less, but it is a higher priority than many other departments, and the budget cutters better take that into consideration.
• This editorial represents the view of the Nevada Appeal editorial board.