NV Chancellor: Cuts Would Devastate Education

RENO, Nev. (AP) - The head of Nevada's higher education system says potential budget cuts in the double-digit percentile range would devastate the state's colleges and universities for years to come.

"The Nevada System of Higher Education has been forced to cut its already lean campus budgets in ways that have a direct, negative and severe impact on its students," Chancellor Jim Rogers said. "The system must now attempt to deal with the new reality of reducing course offerings and creating overcrowded classrooms.

"Students will take longer to graduate, and many will not graduate at all," he said.

Last week, University of Nevada, Reno President Milton Glick said if 14 percent cuts are required for the 2009-11 budget cycle, the school's marching band could be eliminated and the contracts of 36 faculty members would not be renewed.

Glick on Monday said another 70 currently vacant faculty and administrative positions have been identified for possible elimination if necessary.

But he said those positions would save only about a third of the $31 million in cuts being targeted, and other reductions would have to come from academic programs.

"If these numbers are real, we're going to have to look at programs," Glick said. "You can't take out $30 million and leave programs intact.

"It's not something we look forward to doing," he said "We'd have to do it with the consultation of faculty and appropriate students."

The cuts and proposed greater cuts are also hitting Truckee Meadows Community College and Western Nevada College.

TMCC has eliminated 27 positions and will not fill 46 vacancies in administration, faculty and classified staff, officials said. If operating budgets are slashed, student wages and available work positions will be curtailed and in some cases eliminated.

Western Nevada College has 35 vacant positions that will remain unfilled to meet budget reductions, Rogers said.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)