Friday, February 10, 2012

Why Doesn't Nevada Implement This Model?

Twenty nine states in the U.S. have a model for funding community colleges that includes a local tax base. The states that have this model have schools that are the best in the U.S. (Arizona, New York, Texas, California, etc.). This not only guarantees a close connection with local needs, but results in overall better funding for the community colleges. Why doesn't Nevada implement this model?

When I was Chancellor and looked into the structure of the community colleges in the Western United States, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that community colleges were initially designed to support the communities they serve.  Therefore, the local communities provided the financial support for  those community colleges.  For example, the community colleges in Arizona, specifically Phoenix, Maricopa County, are governed and funded by the county.  Maricopa County has over 400,000 community college students.  Several years ago the county issued over $900 million in bonds to construct learning facilities.  THERE IS NOT ONE REASON WHY THE COMMUNITY COLLEGES IN NEVADA SHOULD NOT BE GOVERNED AND FINANCED BY THEIR RESPECTIVE COUNTIES. 
The State Legislature meets every two years.  Having a multitude of problems to solve, and not having one legislator capable of solving those problems, attempts to understand what funds are needed for the higher education system are beyond their comprehension.  On the other hand, the County Commission in Clark County is a full-time commission.  Because the board is close in proximity and its philosophy is compatible with the local community college, it is infinitely more qualified to govern the Clark County community college. 
You would think the Board of Regents would take a position in favor of local rule and that the Southern Nevada Regents would understand what a drubbing the College of Southern Nevada takes when the money gets distributed to the eight higher education Institutions.  But like every other fundamental issue facing the Regents, they seem unable or unwilling to look at a new support system for the community colleges.


  1. Your idea will never work! It makes to much sense....

  2. Jim,

    Would we need to amend the NV Constitution to allow the Regents to pass their governing authority over community colleges to local government? Or would only funding be passed from state to local government, while policy decisions would still be under the Regents?

    Sondra Cosgrove