- Associated Press - Sunday, March 6, 2016

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Moves to consolidate portions of Nevada’s higher education system are generating criticism.

The Las Vegas Sun reports (http://bit.ly/1QzRmnb) a group of former community college presidents is drafting legislation that would essentially remove community colleges from Nevada System of Higher Education oversight.

Regents are discussing expanding UNR and UNLV police to community colleges and creating a one-stop registration system for students. Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Dan Klaich says these are cost-saving measures amid shrinking state funding.

“This isn’t about community colleges or police; what this is about is that state appropriations continue to get tighter,” he said. “It means we have an obligation to find as much savings as possible, and these things looked like relatively low-hanging fruit.”

John Gwaltney is the former president of Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno and says community colleges are the first to see cuts when funds are limited.

More than half of the state’s college students attend the College of Southern Nevada, Truckee Meadows Community College, Western Nevada College or Great Basin College.

He said consolidating services is an attempt to “wind the system together to the point where it makes it very difficult to separate the institutions.

“I think any rational person that would look at it would come to the conclusion that it would make it difficult to separate the system.”

Critics are proposing a separate governing board and budget for community colleges. Gwaltney said the main challenge is creating a funding formula that doesn’t prioritize universities.

“(We want) a separate board and our own budget that recognizes the fact that we don’t do research,” said CSN history professor Sondra Cosgrove. “They obsess about universities and research and sports . but teaching is the actual foundation of a higher education system.”

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Information from: Las Vegas Sun, http://www.lasvegassun.com

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