My assistant suggested that a resolution of the Nevada System of Higher Education funding problems seems rather simple, especially when 75% of the higher education students are in Southern Nevada and 75% of the State’s tax revenue is created in Southern Nevada. Southern Nevada’s higher education schools should receive 75% of the revenue and the Northern schools should receive 25%. If the North chooses to use all of its funds to build a medical school that seems totally out of place in Nevada’s higher education system, then so be it. But the Northern schools should not be dictating what the Southern schools do with their share of the money. The North shouldn’t get first crack at the pie. The South should not get what is left.
The issue of the ratio between North and South funding is compounded by the lack of state funding for the entire system. The North-South conflict makes the inadequate funding even more destructive to the System. In analyzing the funding formula, the funding formula committee must not only look at the percentage each institution receives, but also what all of the future needs of the System will be to adequately support the System. The Regents should develop a plan that compensates the southern Nevada institutions for the hundreds of millions of dollars they have been shortchanged over the last 40 years.
The Southern regents must finally take a stand and the Southern Nevada legislators must stand with them.