CARSON CITY — Western Nevada College President Carol Lucey said Tuesday she will step down from her position by the end of this fiscal year or sooner if a replacement can be found.
In a memo to college officials obtained by the Review-Journal, Lucey said she is unwilling to serve as president through another legislative session.
Lucey said she met with Chancellor Dan Klaich last week to talk about the need to begin a search for her replacement as soon as possible.
“While I am willing to continue to serve through the end of the fiscal year, if an adequate search for a strong new leader can be done with a January hire in mind, I am willing to step down at that time,” she said.
Lucey has served as president of the college for 14 years.
The college has been hit hard by budget cuts in recent years, including the loss of funding under a new higher education funding formula approved by the 2013 Legislature that shifted more money to Southern Nevada campuses.
The cuts in the current budget will amount to about $750,000 in each year, which is a lot for a small college, she said.
“The first 10 years we did a lot,” Lucey said. “The last few years have been tough. The last session, as you know, cost Western and Great Basin (College) another cut. I had not really expected in the end that that would actually happen. That was hard.”
Lucey said she was happy to represent the college in legislative sessions when there was reason for optimism.
“When you consistently draw a losing hand it’s time to push away from the table,” she said. “Maybe someone else can figure out a way to make it work out.”
Lucey said she did not want to leave when the cuts were first being implemented in the previous two budgets.
“It seemed important not to leave people stranded,” she said.
But Lucey said she is optimistic that Senate Bill 391, creating an interim legislative study to consider funding for the state’s colleges, will provide some help in the next session.
“So it is OK for me to go on and do other things,” she said.
Contact Capital Bureau reporter Sean Whaley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-687-3900.