Audio: Klaich admits NSHE’s past hyperbole

Victor Joecks

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been citing this quote by Chancellor Dan Klaich whenever someone would overstate the impact of Gov. Brian Sandoval’s proposed reductions to the Nevada System of Higher Education.

I think we have been guilty of hyperbole in the past, where we get the first dollar of a cut and we would like you to believe that the sky is falling in. And here we are a few years later and, lo and behold, the sky is right where it started out. It has not fallen in.

And now, for your listening pleasure, I have audio of his statement.

Unfortunately, those involved with the higher education system continue to make hyperbolic remarks. The latest:

Sen. John Lee, D-North Las Vegas, said hopelessness over long-term unemployment and pent-up anger about a funding imbalance that favors universities over community colleges has unemployed construction workers and others who are seeking retraining at their wits’ end. …

“We will have to do as they did in Egypt, fight for those rights,” Lee told the group, who didn’t respond other than to thank him for his testimony.

Umm … yeah. Can’t you see the similarities between fighting an oppressive regime and fighting to get more of the state funding pie? Chancellor Klaich did tactfully decline to agree with Lee’s call to arms, though.

What’s worse is that in the same article, the reporter, Benjamin Spillman, misreports the size of the NSHE operating budget, which makes the proposed funding reduction look larger than it actually is.

Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval’s budget proposal would cut the system’s operating budget from the current level of $556 million to $395 million by 2013.

False. The NSHE’s current operating budget is $1.744 billion. Don’t believe me? Check out the budget for yourself (second tab). What the $556 million figure refers to is the subsidy NSHE receives from the state, which is less than 32 percent of its operating budget.

In total, the reduction in state support proposed by Sandoval is less than 10 percent of NSHE’s operating budget – and that’s before you factor in tuition increases.

Crisis? Only if you’re using hyperbole.