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University system chief, Gibbons discuss budget

CARSON CITY — Gov. Jim Gibbons and the chief of Nevada’s university, college and community college system met Tuesday in what both described later as a cordial session following their differences last week over higher education funding.

Jim Rogers, chancellor of the higher education system, said that the meeting was not confrontational but that he agreed to “give up nothing” in any budget cuts.

Rogers, who was joined by Vice Chancellor Dan Klaich and other system officials at the meeting, said he told Gibbons that no reason exists for him to make a deal on any cuts before final state revenue estimates are outlined in early May.

“We have to work together to make sure whatever we do causes the least harm to their budget,” Gibbons said after the meeting. “The realities are whether or not we make those cuts the Legislature will ultimately decide for us.”

Gibbons, in preparing a list of budget cuts to deal with a projected revenue shortfall, had said Friday that all agencies and other elected state officials and legislators were joining in the effort but not the state’s higher education system.

Gibbons issued his statement after Rogers said in a letter Thursday to Gibbons that he “cannot in good faith recommend budget cuts from present budgeted levels” for higher education.

Gibbons suggested cuts of more than 60 percent in the budget growth plans for government agencies, including higher education.

But Rogers wrote, “I will not be the chancellor who offers up this destruction.”

Gibbons has said that the higher education budget is up $153 million, about 13 percent, in his spending plan.

The governor added that the increase “comes as student enrollment in Nevada’s universities falls short of predictions.”

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