Eliminating campuses would be a disaster

To the editor:

Once again, the Review-Journal sensationalized the issue of closing higher education campuses when reporting on the April 8 Board of Regents meeting.

Most of the regents who spoke to the motion (to rescind the March vote taking consolidation of institutions off the table) stated their vote was intended to maintain the integrity of the deliberation process, not to close campuses or colleges.

I heard the regents clearly express the value of open access and cost-effective higher education for Nevada residents. Nevada State College was developed for just this purpose. Since it opened in 2002, it has grown from 173 to more than 3,000 students. The cost of educating a student at NSC is less than comparable costs at the universities.

NSC faculty who are excellent teachers support and retain students, many of whom are low-income and first-generation students. Community college students desiring to earn a baccalaureate degree are seamlessly admitted to NSC via transfer agreements. In a recent accreditation visit, national experts commended the quality of education offered by NSC.

Through its shared governance model and quality student outcomes, Nevada State College is clearly the educational model for Nevada's future. The Board of Regents knows this. As Regent Ron Knecht stated, "Eliminating (NSC and community colleges) would, in effect, be like cutting the cheapest parts of the budget to benefit the more expensive parts."

Sherrilyn Coffman

Las Vegas

The writer is a professor and assistant dean at the Nevada State College School of Nursing.

Moral issue

To the editor:

The Chicken Ranch, a legal brothel in Pahrump, continues to push legalized prostitution in Las Vegas. On Sunday, the Review-Journal published a commentary from its public relations counsel, Robert J. Fisher, headlined "There's no getting rid of prostitution." He spun a clever agenda citing all the benefits of legalizing prostitution.

Mr. Fisher, the Chicken Ranch and outgoing Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman support legalized prostitution in Las Vegas. They paint a rosy picture of it and say it will bring in needed tax revenue. There are other illegal things that could be legalized to bring in money. Where does it stop?

The crux: It's not a money issue. It's a moral issue. I contend the majority of Las Vegans consider prostitution immoral. I and others support Sen. Harry Reid and women's groups that oppose legalizing prostitution.

Clyde Dinkins

Las Vegas

Wants more taxes

To the editor:

Congratulations to Assemblywoman Peggy Pierce, D-Las Vegas, for proposing Assembly Bill 336, which would institute a corporate income tax in Nevada. Also compliments to Review-Journal columnist Steve Sebelius for analytically refuting the false objections to this idea (Wednesday).

We can no longer rely primarily on taxes on casino profits and sales taxes to finance our state government. A broader tax base is needed to avoid continual decimation of our already bottom-of-the-barrel education system and to fund other essential services. AB336 may need tweaking, but enactment of a corporate income tax is overdue.

Perhaps it will serve as a start to freeing Nevada from the hold of the ideologues who seem to be driven by a mindless antipathy toward three things: government, taxes and Democrats.

Pierre Coste


School employees

To the editor:

Your lead article on April 7 contained a fact that is most interesting, and in my opinion, highly disturbing. Specifically, I am referring to the fourth paragraph, which states that the Clark County School District "employs 38,500, including 18,000 teachers."

Simple math indicates that this means that there are 20,500 non-teachers in the system. This is absurd.

I believe we could simultaneously strengthen education in the district by a dramatic measure and, additionally, bring costs in line with reality if we:

1. Increase teacher pay by, let us say, 50 percent across the board.

2. Eliminate that percentage (perhaps 60 percent) of the bureaucratic jobs needed to accomplish the necessary budget reductions.

The district would immediately become a magnet at those pay levels for the best and brightest of teachers nationwide. And those teachers would be free to focus on actual teaching, rather than meeting useless bureaucratic requirements.

While the reduction in bureaucratic staff might lead to some necessary functions being unfulfilled, I suspect that the teachers would be happy to share an added measure of administrative responsibility, given their significant increases in compensation.

There is no reason for a school district to exist other than to teach our children. Let's put our money in the hands of those who actually accomplish that goal.

Robert D. Lebenson

Las Vegas

Gloom and doom

To the editor:

As a fellow English teacher, I appreciated Elizabeth Strehl's Wednesday letter in defense of education spending, but I can't condone her statement that, "If the proposed budget cuts to education happen, our schools and therefore our children may never recover."

Perhaps such education advocates are exaggerating to emphasize their point, but can't these academic Chicken Littles see the danger of their hyperbole? If these budget cuts do pass, what message have we now sent to our students? Might young people pick up on the idea that their fate has been sealed and that further work is pointless? Might the economic situation be used by some as an excuse for failure?

Lobbying for schools is noble, but I hope the fatalism so prominent in this conversation won't turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

To all students out there: The ultimate force in your academic achievement isn't the money coming from politicians, it's the effort that comes from you. Don't take our concern over the budget the wrong way. No matter what happens, we believe in you. Your future will always be yours to control.

Jamie Huston

North Las Vegas