Chancellor argues budget cuts could cripple education

RENO — The head of Nevada’s higher education system says the extra budget cuts sought by Gov. Jim Gibbons could cripple colleges and universities and endanger the $184 million they have been promised in federal stimulus funds.

“The state made certain representations about the level of support that would be maintained for education in accepting those stimulus dollars, and those limitations are in full force,” Chancellor Dan Klaich said.

Gibbons has directed state agencies to submit plans outlining how they would cut their budgets by 6 percent, 8 percent or 10 percent to offset a $72 million shortfall. The Nevada System of Higher Education has yet to submit one.

Klaich said an 8 percent cut would mean a cut of $13.3 million in the first year and $40 million the second year.

“It calls into question what important services can survive,” he said.

State Sen. Bill Raggio, R-Reno, said the state’s eight campuses must bear their fair share of future budget cuts but warned there are limits to how much all levels of education can sacrifice without harming Nevada’s future.

The regents have scheduled a videoconference Feb. 2 to discuss the situation.

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