University President Milton Glick said Wednesday that he expects this week's meeting of the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Board of Regents to include discussion of how to respond to Gov. Jim Gibbons' request that many state-funded agencies - including NSHE institutions - provide a plan for budget reductions as high as 8 percent.
The meeting is scheduled for Nov. 29-30 in Las Vegas. One of the agenda items will be a report on potential strategies and impacts of a reduction of the state-supported budget. Several reports have indicated that the state's budget shortfall could be as much as $250 million, and Gov. Gibbons has requested for state agencies to consider budget cuts of up to 8 percent. The Board is expected to discuss this and may issue directions or grant authority for potential future strategies.
"I have no idea how that will go, but there will be some discussion," Glick said.
Glick said that although reports of the higher education system receiving $165 million in "new money" in the most recent budget are factual, it isn't necessarily accurate to say that higher education can simply "give back" a percentage of this money without experiencing a profound impact.
"All but about $3 million (of the $165 million) has been targeted by the Legislature for specific purposes, such as cost of living adjustments, merit adjustments, fringe benefits such as health insurance and the cost of operating new buildings," Glick said. "Those are defined and targeted by the Legislature. We can not do any of these things without being in violation of the law.
"For the whole system of higher education, there is about $3 million in new program money where you have some discretion over how you spend it," he added. "That's not a lot. (The remainder of the $165 million) is defined and targeted by the Legislature already. We have no discretion over that money. It's not that the Legislature was ungenerous, or that anyone is deliberately trying to mislead anyone on this; it's that all that money was dictated already as to how we spend it."
Glick said there will also be some "conversation" between the Board and the System's presidents about priorities for the next biennial budget request. Generally speaking, Glick said the University's priorities are three-fold: 1) Continuing to work toward increasing the percentage of formula funding that the University receives; 2) Making a case for targeted funding to help improve student success; 3) Making a case for funding to improve the institution's research infrastructure.
Glick added he has asked all of the campus' vice presidents and deans to supply him in early December with a list priorities from their individual areas for the biennial budget request.
Other agenda items for the meeting include:
Board action may be requested for a revision in handbook policy regarding conflict of interest reporting and record-keeping. The proposed policy would incorporate requests to perform outside compensated professional or scholarly service as part of an employee's confidential personnel documents. The proposed policy also establishes that institutions annually report aggregated compensated outside professional services and conflict of interest data to ensure that potential conflicts have been reviewed and approved in accordance with established Board policies and eliminates the requirement that DRI faculty provide monthly reports on consulting time consistent with other NSHE institutions.
Board action may also be requested for approval of agreements for retail space in the Joe Crowley Student Union.