Budget cloud lifted as Minden college campus starts semester

Students of Western Nevada College's Minden Campus will soon begin a new semester on Tuesday in the shadow of Gov. Jim Gibbons' 4.5 percent budget cut for higher education, but that's better than the original 8 percent cut that would have closed the campus, said the campus' coordinator of academic and student affairs Dick Kale.

"We have been prepared for a 4.5 percent cut," said Kale. "Our president did a heck of a job preparing for that last year by freezing positions. The campus is going to stay open, and the class offerings will be the same."

However, Kale said because of the cut, class sizes would be bigger and some part-time instructors would go without classes. He said the school's operating budget has been pinched, too.

"We're okay, but we're down to the bare bones," he said.

"We purchased some copy paper, and it emptied our budget for the year, but we do have the supplies we need for the rest of the year. What we're really concerned about are the unexpected kinds of things: a boiler going out or an air conditioner. During the rain a couple weeks ago, there were leaks at the Carson campus. And what does that means in terms of the budget?"

Initially, due to a large shortfall in tax revenue, Gibbons proposed an 8 percent budget cut for some state agencies like higher education and exempted other agencies like K-12 education from the cut.

But when higher education officials said an 8 percent cut would force the closure of some rural campuses, including Minden, Gibbon's rescinded his proposal and decided to spread a lower percent cut across more agencies, including K-12 education.

"Spreading the cuts, people have the opportunity to defer improvements, anything that can be put off," said Kale. "I'm really grateful for what the governor did, and I know it was a tough decision for him. I myself have divided loyalties. I have two grandchildren at Minden Elementary School who will be hurt. It's a difficult thing, but everybody is being hurt, and that's what we have to face in a tough budget year. It's kind of like the question of which child would you give up if you had to."

Kale said despite setbacks, the Minden campus will continue to offer the same quality of education it always has.


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