University of Nevada Regents | NevadaAppeal.com

University of Nevada Regents

David Fulstone
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David Fulstone

Age: 55

Hometown: Yerington

Occupation: Rancher

Family: Wife Diane; 2 sons

Political Background: Lyon County Commission, two terms from 1997-2005. Served on Nevada Advisory Council for Vocational & Technical Education, State Board of Agriculture, president of Nevada Farm Bureau 1981-89. Appointed by Ronald Reagan to National Commission for Agricultural Finance. Served on Desert Research Institute Foundation Board for six years including as chairman from 2002-05. College of Agriculture Advisory Board.

The university system has been accused of being a black hole for state money with 20 percent or more increases in the budget in each of the last three biennia. Does the system need a bigger share of state funds?

With the tremendous growth in Nevada this past 10 years, all segments of

government have experienced budget shortfalls. NSHE is no different. We

need more money at all levels of education but there is a limit. We need to be more creative with the revenue we have and form publicÐprivate partnerships to enhance our ability to grow.

The system is in process of raising minimum scores required to enter the two universities. Supporters say it’s necessary for budgetary reasons and because a university education isn’t the answer for everyone. Opponents say basing that decision on scores discriminates against minorities and those with less than perfect English skills. What is your opinion and how would you handle this issue?

Not all high school graduates are ready for a four-year college. NSHE can provide a bridge to universities through the many community colleges through the state. We also need to work closer with county school boards to make sure high school graduates are more prepared for college.

Contact information:

None given.

Ron Knecht

Age: :57

Hometown: Carson City

Occupation: Currently: Economist, Nevada Public Utilities Commission since 2001. Also, part-time Instructor in Economics at WNCC’s Carson City campus since 2003.

Family: Wife Kathy; daughter Karyn

Political background: Assemblyman, District 40 (Carson & Washoe Cities), 2002-04, Carson City Republican Central Committee chairman, 2005-present (member since 2001), Nevada State Republican Central Committee Member, 2002-present, Candidate (nonpartisan), Los Altos, Calif., City Council, 1999; led successful opposition to Los Altos tax increase proposal, 1999, California State Republican Central Committee member, 1998-2001, Director, Santa Clara County, Calif., Lungren for Governor Operations, 1998, Founder, University of San Francisco; Federalist Society, 1994; Advisor 1997-2001, Founding Board Member, Illinois Public Action Council, 1976-77, Co-founder & Executive Director, Illinois Power Project (Urbana), 1976-78, Democrat Nominee, City of Urbana IL City Council, Ward 2, 1973.

The university system has been accused of being a black hole for state money with 20 percent or more increases in the budget in each of the last three biennia. Does the system need a bigger share of state funds?

Higher ed needs to use more efficiently and effectively all resources it gets. However, the “20 percent” figure is misleading because it overlooks inflation and growth in Nevada’s population and economy. The proper approach is to compare growth and spending for higher-ed to that of the state budget and Nevada’s economy. On that basis, Nevada’s higher-ed spending has grown modestly and is reasonable.

Nevada’s higher-ed spending per capita is 48th among states because higher-ed enrollment as a fraction of the population is low (49th). We need to provide more opportunities for higher education in Nevada, and especially improve opportunities at the high end of the academic achievement spectrum. The K-12 system must better prepare our children for college.

Nevada state spending and taxes were traditionally reasonable relative to the state’s economy, although they have jumped sharply in recent years. However, local and federal spending and taxes are high. While holding the line on total state spending growth, we need to recognize that higher ed is still our lowest-funded major category. We may need to give it a higher priority than we have given it and restrain growth of other government sectors.

The system is in process of raising minimum scores required to enter the two universities. Supporters say it’s necessary for budgetary reasons and because a university education isn’t the answer for everyone. Opponents say basing that decision on scores discriminates against minorities and those with less than perfect English skills. What is your opinion and how would you handle this issue?

First, the reason to increase standards is grade inflation in our K-12 system and the resulting poor preparation by those schools of students for college and life. Second, with Nevada 49th in per capital college enrollment and 48th in higher-ed spending, the reasons cited (budget and college not being for everyone) are clearly not the explanation. We need more, not fewer, students attending college. We need to improve vocational and technical education opportunities at community college, and academic programs everywhere.

Claims that reasonable standards discriminate against minorities and those with poor English skills are false issues, too. I believe minorities can and will do as well as others when all are consistently held to the same standards. I oppose the soft bigotry of low expectations that has been the primary discrimination against minorities for years. Similarly, bilingual programs in the K-12 system are a mistake that continues the language problem instead of solving it, and dumps it on higher ed and society.

We need to help minorities and those with poor English skills with clear standards and sound programs from Kindergarten to PhD, not burden them and everyone with the failed policies of the past.

Contact information:

Telephone: 882-2935

E-mail: RonKnecht@aol.com