Following the money to UNLV’s new medical school

How does $27 million become $8.3 million and then revert to $27 million? Penn & Teller?

Building Nevada’€™s general fund budget is always a give-and-take process. The governor asks agencies what they want, and it’€™s almost always more than they’€™re going to get.

In the case of the Nevada System of Higher Education, the wish list came in at $190 million in “€œnew money”€ for things that had not been in the previous two-year budget.

Within that $190 million higher-ed enhancement request was $27 million to begin a new medical school at UNLV. That was within the proposed budget approved in August 2014 by the Board of Regents.

After considering the numbers, Gov. Brian Sandoval’€™s chief of staff, Mike Willden, told Chancellor Dan Klaich that the enhancement budget needed to be cut from $190 million to $80 million.

“€œI met with the chancellor, saying it was not going to be possible to put $200 million more in the university system,”€ Willden said. “€œI instructed the chancellor and his staff to give me an $80 million proposal for new money on top of the base budget.”

When the paring down was finished, more than $100 million was cut, and the start-up money for UNLV med school was down to $8.3 million, according to budget spreadsheets. That’€™s a $19 million drop. (All these are two-year numbers for the 2016-2017 biennium.)

In his State of the State speech in January, Sandoval proudly announced, “The Board of Regents has recognized this need, and I am pleased to provide the first $9.3 million for the initial costs of establishing the new UNLV medical school.”€ Actually it was $8.3 million, but what’s a million here or there.

The popular Republican governor was taken aback when the criticism started.

Especially since he had given them everything requested.

Just not everything they originally sought.

While the budget was being put together, Klaich and two regents, then-Chairman Kevin Page and then-Vice Chairman Rick Trachok, visited Sandoval and Willden. They said $9 million was all they needed, Sandoval remembered. That was after Klaich had presented a revised request, cutting $100 million.

Sandoval said he told the three: “€œI can’€™t put $30 million in here if there’€™s not a plan to deploy it. They said $9 million would take care of it.”€

By cutting the request by $19 million, the medical school opening would be pushed back a year to 2018.

“€œI felt I had put 100 percent of their request in there,”€ Sandoval said. “I had the three of them telling me this is all we need (for the medical school).”€

Willden said the three “€œexpressed their appreciation that the $9 million would be a good start.”€

The gratitude Klaich, Page and Trachok had shown Sandoval in that private meeting was reflected in Klaich’€™s budget summary calling the $8.3 million a sign Sandoval strongly supported a medical school in Las Vegas.

But later, Klaich said in a written statement, “€We indicated that we would work throughout the legislature to build on the Governor’s recommendation in the event that additional funding was available.”

By Feb. 24, when Page and Trachok were testifying before legislators, they wanted it all. They asked for the entire $190 million in enhancements, including the full $27 million for the medical school.

On May 1, Las Vegas City Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian, approached Sandoval when he came to the Springs Preserve to bury a time capsule. She asked why he had allocated less than a third of the amount requested. She called his funding “€œa big disappointment.”

He told her he wasn’€™t done yet. ’€œI told her we had to see how it all came out with the budget.

“€œI made it clear to her my conscience was clear,”€ Sandoval said. “€œI had the three of them telling me this is all we need.”€

About a week later, state Sen. Michael Roberson said he thought he could get another $19 million for the school.

Ultimately, with Sandoval’€™s backing, a bill was amended to create a 3 percent excise tax on fares for ride-sharing companies like Uber, as well as taxis, limos and charter bus services.

Regent Mark Doubrava first began pushing for a medical school in the spring of 2013 and follows the issue closely. At a regents’€™ meeting March 6, while the Legislature was still in session, he asked Klaich to explain how a $27 million request became a $9 million request. “€œKlaich didn€™t give me a clear answer,”€ Doubrava said. “€œI’€™m concerned that we act as a board and spend many hours trying to do our duty and that’s dismissed in a brief meeting.”€

Klaich said there were no public meetings with regents to discuss what should be cut. He made the calls. “I gave the governor’€™s staff some options for implementing the … reductions I was told to make. I advised the chair and vice chair.”€

Klaich, Page and Trachok were prepared to push the school’€™s opening back a year to meet the governor’€™s request, if additional tax dollars didn’t roll in.

But the governor looks as if he had to be pushed to support the medical school, when he thought he was giving NSHE officials, at least three of them, exactly what they wanted.

Jane Ann Morrison’€™s column runs Thursdays. Leave messages for her at 702-383-0275 or Find her on Twitter: @janeannmorrison.


Memorial service for former RJ lawyer Mark Hinueber
Mark Hinueber, the Review-Journal's former lawyer and defender of the First Amendment, died in Las Vegas on Aug. 23. Hinueber, who was 66, worked at the RJ and other newspapers for 42 years. On Saturday, his friends and family gathered for a memorial service.
Army veteran honored in Henderson event
Army Sgt. Adam Poppenhouse was honored by fellow veterans in an event hosted by a One Hero at a Time at the Henderson Events Center.
Michelle Obama and Keegan-Michael Key urge Nevadans to vote
Former first lady Michelle Obama and comedian Keegan-Michael Key urged Nevadans to vote at Chaparral High School in Las Vegas Sunday, Sep. 23, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
1 dead, 1 wounded in North Las Vegas standoff
A woman was hospitalized with serious injuries on Thursday morning after being shot inside a North Las Vegas house. Police responded about 11 p.m. to a shooting at a home on the 5600 block of Tropic Breeze Street, near Ann Road and Bruce Street. The wounded woman, police believe, was shot by a man, who later barricaded himself inside the house. SWAT was called to assist, and when officers entered the house, they discovered the man dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Las Vegas Teen Makes Clothing Resale His Side Hustle
Las Vegas resident Reanu Elises, 18, started buying and selling streetwear online when he was a high school junior. Like many other young adults, the world of online resale applications like Depop and Mercari have made selling clothing online for a profit easy. Now, Elises spends his free time at thrift shops looking for rare and vintage clothing he can list on his on his shop. Now in his freshman year at UNLV as a business marketing major, Elises hopes to open a shop of his own one day and start his own clothing brand. He estimates that he's made about $1000 from just thrifted finds in the past year, which he'll use to buy more thrift clothing and help pay for expenses in college. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
Fruition Vineyards Encourages Young Entrepreneurs to "Buy, Flip, Dream"
Once a month, young adults gather at Fruition Vineyards on South Maryland Parkway near UNLV to dig through a stack of rare, vintage and designer clothing that's marked down well below it's resale value. Shop founder Valerie Julian began the vent, dubbed "Fruition Vineyards" in August after running her streetwear shop since 2005. The event gives young entrepreneurs the opportunity to "buy, flip, dream" according to Jean. Meaning that they're encouraged to buy the clothing for sale and find a way to resell it for a profit, then reinvest that into whatever dream they pursue: college, a hobby or their own resale business. Shoppers lined up starting an hour before noon on the last Saturday in April for the opportunity and spoke about what they hoped to do with their finds and profits. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
Local man goes under cover searching for answers to homelessness
Licensed mental health therapist Sheldon Jacobs spent 48 hours under cover posing as a homeless man in an attempt to gain perspective on the complex issue.
Social Work UNLV Lecturer's Calling
Ivet Aldaba-Valera was the first person in her family to graduate from both high school and college. The 33-year-old UNLV lecturer is now pursuing her Ph. D in public policy at the school and has used her degree in social work to engage with the young Latino and Latina community of Las Vegas. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
The world's longest racetrack could be coming to Pahrump
Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club in Pahrump might be the first racetrack in the world longer than 16 miles long once the expansion is complete. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Gold Point townsperson talks about why he choose to live in a ghost town
Gold Point townsperson Walt Kremin talks about the ghost town in Nevada he calls home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Search for missing 3-year-old boy at Sunset Park
Las Vegas police and Red Rock Search and Rescue team search for a missing child at Sunset Park in southeast Las Vegas on Sunday, Sept.2, 2018. (Chitose Suzuki/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai speaks at Las Vegas tech conference
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban on her way home from school in Pakistan after advocating for girls' education, spoke at VMworld 2018 at Mandalay Bay. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren addresses Oct. 1 lawsuits
MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren addresses criticism his company has received for filing a lawsuit against the survivors of the Oct. 1 shooting. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Father recalls the night his 14-year-old son died jumping into moving traffic
From the Clark County Detention Center, Ezequiel Anorve Serrano talks about the night his 14-year-old son, Silas Anorve, died jumping into moving traffic on U.S. 95. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Palace Station unveils new sports book
Palace Station talks about the new sports book Thursday, August 23, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
One of world's longest racetracks planned in Pahrump by 2020
The racetrack will be 16 miles long by the year 2020 according to Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club owner John Morris. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Henderson police bodycam footage of officer-involved shooting
Henderson police released body-worn camera footage of an officer-involved shooting in a grocery store parking lot at 2667 Windmill Parkway on Aug. 12, 2018. (Henderson Police Department)
Robotics takes off at Las Vegas Academy
Las Vegas Academy’s robotics team made it all the way to the world competition last year, the first year the team competed. Zackary Perry describes how they programmed their robot to compete. The team is an example of what Tesla wants to have in every school in the state. (Meghin Delaney/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bicyclist suffers major head trauma in hit-and-run
A bicyclist was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries after a Thursday morning hit-and-run crash near the school formerly known as Agassi Prep. Police said the bicyclist was hit by a white SUV, which fled the scene. The injured man suffered multiple injuries including major head trauma. As of 9 a.m., Lake Mead remained closed between Martin Luther King and Revere Street while police investigate.
Las Vegas artist Dave Dave dies at 42
Dave Dave talks about his art and his life in 2016. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dave Dave, whose dad set him on fire in 1983, dies
Dave Dave, a respected Las Vegas artist who was badly scarred as a boy when his father tried to burn him to death in Southern California, died at Sunrise Hospital on July 15. He was 42. When he was 6, Dave's father tried to kill him by setting him on fire. He was given a sleeping pill and his bed at a Buena Park, California, motel was doused with kerosene. “I remembered being in a lot of pain,” Dave told the Review-Journal in 2016. “When stuff happens to you at that young of an age, you tend to block it out, but I remember the pain was excruciating.” Dave, who was born David Rothenberg, became close friends with Michael Jackson, who met him after the attack, which burned more than 90 percent of his body. “I wanted to meet him, and he wanted to meet me, and that just turned into a lifelong relationship that never ended,” Dave said. “It was amazing being friends with Michael Jackson. He was an amazing person.” Dave attended ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California, and collaborated with various artists around Las Vegas, eventually selling his art to private collectors. Despite his challenges, he continued to live, thrive and create. Dave Dave
Homicide detectives investigate woman's death
Las Vegas police were called to Tahiti Village Resort early Wednesday after calls that someone had been shot. Police found a woman’s body between a parking garage and boiler room on the resort's property. A guest first reported hearing gunfire. There are no witnesses, but police will examine surveillance videos and look for clues. The woman was not identified, but a purse was found near the body. She did not appear to be a guest at the resort.
LVMPD Discusses Ross Dress for Less Shooting
LVMPD Assistant Sheriff Charles Hank discussed the 15th officer-involved shooting of the year at a press conference at Metro headquarters on Tuesday, Aug. 14. The active-shooter incident took place at the Ross Dress for Less store at the 4000 block Blue Diamond Road in the south Las Vegas Valley. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County School Board president Deanna Wright on travel expenses
Clark County School Board President Deanna Wright says she followed proper expense protocol in trip to Florida last year.
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program where community and business leaders joined to welcome students back with an inspirational welcome. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Shooting leaves 1 dead in southeast valley
A man was found fatally shot in the doorway of a squatter apartment after an argument ended in gunfire on Sunday night. Officers responded about 10:30 p.m. to the Silver Pines apartments and discovered the man in a breezeway in one of the buildings. The wounded man died at the scene, despite the efforts of another person, who tried to administer medical aid. Witnesses saw a man and a woman flee the scene, but were unable to give police a clear description.
North Las Vegas unveils new school crosswalk
North Las Vegas councilman Isaac Barron talks about the new school crosswalk in front of CP Squires Elementary School Monday, August 6, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
LVMPD Briefing on OIS #13
Assistant Sheriff Tim Kelly held a press conference to discuss details of the 13th officer-involved-shoot for the department in 2018. Video shows the moments before the suspect was shot. The shooting, which has been edited out, occurred as the suspect lunged at an officer outside the apartment. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like