Nevada NewsMakers

News - May 29, 2018 - by Ray Hagar

By Ray Hagar
Nevada Newsmakers

Although university-system Chancellor Thom Reilly said he is committed to a combined university/community college lobbying front at the 2019 Nevada Legislature, he'll leave the heavy lifting of lobbying to the individual college and university presidents.

"That is always the question, isn't it?" Reilly said on Nevada Newsmakers Tuesday, when asked if the chancellor or the presidents would control lobbying efforts.

"Presidents so the best job telling their story," Reilly said. "They live it. They are with their deans and their students and are the best communicators to what the needs are. So I'm big proponent of having the presidents, having the institutions speak from their perspective."

He hinted the community colleges could be devastated if the universities and community colleges were to compete for state funding from the Legislature.

"I'm a big proponent to the one system here," he said. "Many states breakout the university system from the community college system, they did that in Arizona. When the community colleges went against, head-to-head with the universities, the Legislature decided not to fund the community colleges at all.

"The universities have a stronger face. They have foundations. They have athletics," Reilly said. "It is not a (fair) competition. I think in one system, we are focused on clear outcomes."

Funding for college and universities uses a funding formula partially based on performance indicators such as course completion. Reilly praised its fairness.

"The Legislature has done a lot of work in looking at the way things are funded," Reilly said. "To level the playing field, they fund on completion. when you complete a course, that is how you get funding. Everybody gets funded the same way."

He stressed a coordinate lobbying effort, with presidents in charge.

"I've been pushing a lot of transparency with the regents," he said. "We just got done adopting capital requests and planning requests. And I had each regent vote and I had them publicly go out there and vote and rank.

"So when we have policies or when we have legislation, the regents will take a vote on it," he said. "That will be our policy. So we will do it in a coordinated fashion. But I would like the presidents to be the voice in front of the Legislature because they tell the best story. They know their students much better than I would."