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January 27, 2015

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Hundreds protest cuts to education during Strip rally


Mona Shield Payne/Special to the Sun

UNLV alum Frank Salvo, 34, protests education budget cuts in Nevada during a rally Sunday, March 6, in front of the Bellagio on the Las Vegas Strip.

Updated Sunday, March 6, 2011 | 8:50 p.m.

Rally Against Budget Cuts

Protesters make their way along Las Vegas Boulevard during a protest against education budget cuts Sunday, March 6, in front of the Bellagio on the Las Vegas Strip. Launch slideshow »

A student-led rally started with a “eulogy” — somber messages from hundreds of protesters gathered Sunday on the Las Vegas Strip to oppose what they called Gov. Brian Sandoval’s death sentence for education in Nevada.

Their stories — filled with messages of anger alongside a resiliency to keep fighting — elicited loud chants of “save our schools,” a phrase emblazoned on black T-shirts many wore to the funeral-themed protest, which brought about 500 people to the Strip.

“We cannot even compete in our own country (in education),” lamented Colin Seale, a teacher and UNLV law student. “And they want to make cuts to that? I’m happy when I get a kid that’s at grade level.”

The attendees’ slogans on posters echoed the same sentiments: “Nevadans care about education! So should you, Mr. Sandoval,” “What happens in Vegas matters,” and “Budget cuts? Nevada bleeds.”

Sandoval’s proposed cuts to education include reducing the average per-student state support from $5,192 this fiscal year to $4,918 in each of the next two fiscal years. The Nevada System of Higher Education says there is a $163 million reduction from its current budget as recommended by the governor.

If the proposed cuts to higher education were made up only through tuition hikes, state education officials have said it would translate into a 73 percent tuition increase.

That point brought UNLV senior Lluvia Valenzuela, who carried a tombstone-shaped poster reading “R.I.P. access to education,” to the rally. Now a biology student, Valenzuela said she hopes to enroll in the university’s dental school after graduation.

“I just want tuition to stay the same,” she said. “They don’t think about the people.”

Others, like Jennifer Cavada, said she attended the rally for the sake of future generations.

“I’m here because I want my children to be educated enough to compete for jobs,” she said.

Her sons — elementary school students Gabriel and Joseph, and eighth-grader Anthony — toted signs reading “cuts hurt” and “honk 4 education,” the latter of which received a chorus of beeps from passing motorists on Las Vegas Boulevard.

More drivers joined the rally by honking as the brigade, billing itself as a funeral procession, marched more than a mile from near the Bellagio’s fountains to the Palms.

“Forty-eighth in the nation, we need education,” the crowd chanted while walking along Flamingo Road.

Assembled outside the Palms, the rally attendees took aim at the governor’s proposed cuts, calling education a right, not a privilege.

“We need to send a message to legislators and to Gov. Sandoval up in Carson City that we cannot sustain any more cuts,” said Lynn Comella, a UNLV professor in the women’s studies department. “Cuts are not the answer. We need more taxes.”

Laurie Lytel, a visiting professor at UNLV’s School of Social Work, said it’s painful for her to tell students she doesn’t know whether the program will exist if the proposed cuts gain approval in the Legislature.

“If people don’t get an education, they’re not going to be able to support themselves,” Lytel said.

Click to enlarge photo

Hand-in-hand, Melissa Marvin and Sam Shield, respectively a UNLV substitute teacher and UNLV student, march along Las Vegas Boulevard during a protest against education budget cuts Sunday, March 6, in front of the Bellagio on the Las Vegas Strip.

Dressed in a Day of the Dead-themed costume — complete with morbid face paint — Karoline Khamis was among the students who worried her program might be in jeopardy. The women’s studies major at UNLV said her job at the Women’s Center could also be on the chopping block.

“We’re going to have to absorb as many cuts this year as we have in six years,” she said.

Khamis said she was glad to see a large turnout for the rally.

“With so many students that have one or two jobs, it’s amazing this many people came out,” she said.

The pro-education rally evolved from an idea hatched by a group of students chatting the previous Sunday at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf near UNLV’s campus, said Alfonso Ayala, who graduated in May with a master’s degree in higher education.

The idea for a demonstration set in motion a week of organizing and spreading the word.

“The movement behind us is just phenomenal — from 10 students sitting at the Coffee Bean to this,” he said, surveying the chanting crowd outside the Palms.

Protesters plan to descend on Carson City on March 21 to deliver in person the same message, organizers said.

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  1. "Let them eat cake..." said Sandoval from the taxpayer's Mansion.

  2. Chunky says:

    We all care about eduction, social services, public services etc. but the fact is we have to balance the budget.

    There's no simple answer other than the state can no longer continue spending more than it has revenue to pay it's bills.

    No pain, no gain; we're all having to give a little more and do more with less these days.

    Businesses are struggling to keep the doors open and We The People are struggling as well; there's no room or support for new / higher taxes.

    Our government and it's institutions have become bloated and obese. Time to go on a diet and trim the fat wherever we can.

    Educators, it's time to bring innovation to the table and become part of the solution instead of cryin' and whinin' !!!

    That's what Chunky thinks!

  3. The hyperbole is getting tiresome. NSHE's current spending in this biennium is estimated to be $3.4 billion - and that is excluding debt repayment and capital projects. The sum of the loss ARRA stimulus and general fund cuts amount to $258 million over the next biennium. In other words, the total cuts are about 7.4 percent of current spending. Big, but totally manageable.

    Not that spending more money will produce greater student achievement anyway:

    Innovation, not more spending, is what we need now.

  4. Whining little sniveling free loading mindless trolls; we have spent trillions upon trillions on education and all America has to show for what we've spent is Obama. What a waste of our money and we're done wasting money on liberal programs that have not produced anything useful or meaningful.

    The system is broken and quite frankly, most Americans could care a less what happens to the mindless trolls. The only thing we care about is how our money is going to be spent in the future and it doesn't include the mindless liberal trolls. Move to California or some other place where you're appreciated and suck off their system, you are not welcome here anymore.

  5. If higher education is murdered, then Nevada dies with it. Brian Sandoval holds the gun. Will we let him shoot the fatal bullet?

    Businesses keep telling us they don't want to invest in a state that doesn't value its workforce. Unless we give them the kind of educated workforce they want and need, Nevada is doomed for even more misery and economic death.

  6. There goes Gibbons again with his deliberate obfuscations of facts. He is irresponsible here, and deliberately misleads.

    His gimmick: conflate ALL spending as NSHE "current spending" (which includes money designated in the whole system for buildings and maintenance; utilities, fixed expenses, and earmarked projects which cannot be diverted to any other use; also, he includes assigned grant dollars not in any way related to classroom activities; the medical school and hospital expenditures; and research grants from other sources for the two Desert Research Institutes and Gaming Institute that cannot be reassigned; and other funding which is not on the books of our state schools): note that these are funds that have little or nothing to do with the current budget crisis.

    Gibbons does this intentionally to distort the truth so as to minimize the consequences in his posts. Then he puts a link to an unsubstantiated, unsourced right-wing opinion blog that is not a credible source: not even the echo chambers of Fox News would use this idiotic dreck...

    Here is the reality at UNLV: 2008-2010 cuts already made of 27% -- including job losses, lay-offs, the whole catastrophe; now the proposal to add another 18%-20% on top of this for 2011-2012 --a total cut of 45%-47% in 4 years, which is unsustainable.

    These figures come from the Vice President for Finance at UNLV, and the President -- Note: appointed professionals who can be fired for academic dishonesty if such figures are not as accurate as humanly possible when reported to the Board of Regents.

    This proposed new cut will now wipe out whole departments and programs and all the faculty and staff in them; it quite likely will force the university into "exigency" (bankruptcy). And worst of all, it will do irreversible harm to the opportunities and careers of Nevada students.

  7. Mr. Unger,

    That is the NSHE operating budget and it excludes debt repayment and capital projects. Some of the money is already tied toward certain projects, its true, but people like you grossly overstate this by misleading people to assume that nothing in the budget can be touched to mitigate the effects of general fund revenue loss.

    Additionally, much of the funds actually go toward education, research and related expenditures - even though the general fund revenue makes up just 1/3rd of those expenditures.

    In other words, people like you are trying to have their cake and eat it too. You're trying to claim that cutting a portion of 1/3rd of the budget will destroy education and research while ignoring the other 2/3rds of the budget that also funds education and research.

    its a distortion of the truth.

    The reality is this - higher education is facing a cut of 7.44 percent of current spending (a good chunk of this is a loss of one-time federal stimulus they knew would be lost this upcoming biennium way back in 2009 so they've had time to prepare for it).

  8. PS, my figures come from the Nevada System of Higher Education board of regents, February 2011 Board of Regents meeting (handout). I also have a copy of the excel file if you want it.

    Any figure claiming cuts larger than 10 percent are cuts from a portion of a portion of overall spending (excluding debt repayment and capital projects).

    Claiming cuts as high as 45 percent cannot be achieved without mathematical fanagingling imaginary numbers or royally screwing up basic mathematical calculations (which UNLV officials have done, I caught them at it, Chancellor Klaich has even apologized for the hyperbole and overstatement of the numbers).

  9. Chunky says:

    Some of these educators should be fired for "academic stupidity" and for letting their institutions get so fat and bloated! They should also be fired if they don't get off their tails and figure out how to do more with less until such time our economy, tax base and their students can afford to fund it.

    Whole departments, half departments, reduced schedules, pay decreases.... you know the stuff the rest of the country has been facing for two plus years now. Whatever it takes!

    This is not an all or nothing proposition the academic administrators want to paint it as. Take whatever budget you get, salvage as much as you can and build it back up from there.

    It just seems like they want to complain, protest and paint a doom and gloom picture instead of rolling up their sleeves and getting to work!

    That's what Chunky thinks!

  10. PS, awhile back I proved that through proper math the cuts to appropriations between 2008 and 2010 were around 9 percent system wide - NOT 27 percent.

    This however, is appropriations, NOT actual spending. I suspect when you take into account actual spending the cuts are a lot less.

    I am still waiting on the information request I submitted to them 1 month ago (by law they have 5 days to respond in writing).

  11. The party is over, people. We can't afford it anymore. You want to go to college, you pay for it. Don't ask the taxpayer to foot the bill anymore...

  12. UNLV's FY 2010 budget - excluding Dental School, Law School, and Athletics was $544.2 million. What is the budget cut to UNLV - $47 million? If that is the two year budget cut that isn't even 10 percent of 1 years spending...

    Unger above wants to exclude student fees, grants, and the self supporting budget which itself excludes plant funds, loan funds, endowment funds, and scholarship funds.

    In other words, Unger wants to look at a portion of a portion of the budget in order to make the budget cuts appear more dramatic so he can claim catastrophic devastation to education and research while ignoring about 80 percent of the spending, most of which also goes to fund education and research.

  13. Whoa Gibbons, my head is spinning!

  14. I wouldn't take anything from Patrick Gibbons seriously. He works for the Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI), a PR outfit which is anti-education. Why? Education costs tax money, and NPRI is anti-tax. NPRI is especially against taxing billionaires, such as Sheldon Adelson, casino mogul and supporter of NPRI.

  15. Again: Gibbons conflates in order to obfuscate. He puts all fixed costs into the same basket as academics; plus all outside funding (grants and other) tied to specific institutes and research.

    The cut percentages cited are accurate as reported by the VP for Finance and the President of UNLV.

  16. Mr. Gibbons you are right on one point.
    "The hyperbole is getting tiresome"
    Aside from the fact that your entire argument revolves around many self propagated fallacies that you continue to extol as "the truth"

    Increased education spending actually DOES produce greater student achievement.

    Your other fallacy Mr. Unger has already dealt with. Not to mention that he is right when he states that you work for NPRI.

    From NPRI's own website "Those who contribute to NPRI do so with the understanding that they can, if they choose, remain anonymous" "Donors alone decide whether they want to go public."
    Sounds pretty shady to me for a "research institute".

  17. The Casino Industry has developed such a talent for creative accounting in the form of tax shelters, umbrellas, dodges, etc. that they only pay a fraction of the taxes they did ten years ago, before Bush.

    The Casino industry has no connection to Nevada other then to use the airports, land and water for generating profits and then transport those profits to other parts of the country and world to "Pay Debts".

    The Casino Industry is out for their own aggrandizement and Nevada has just begun to pay.

  18. Another racist comment by Birdie against people of Hispanic origin.

    Birdie so much hate, fear, and ignorance.

  19. Eliminate a few of the salaries on the top of the administration over two years. That puts a dent in the $47.5 million hole.

  20. ShannonK:


    This would explain why he is hawking his right-wing rag (Western Wragler) and not NRRI stuff.

  21. Shannonk:

    He is not listed on the NRPI staff either.

  22. Joe:

    Are you making that up?

  23. Patrick:

    Speak up and clear the record up on this one. It is a matter of honor.

  24. The economy is weak and yet the unions are hammering for higher taxes and increased spending.


    I don't care how much you protest. Now is the time to cut payrolls and PERS.

  25. The racist comments never end do they Birdie?

  26. I don't call what NPRI or what Gibbons does research. It is advocacy. They have a view and they try to support it with someone else's research. They start with a conclusion and work their way back. It is no different than fixing the outcome of a game.

    They can advocate all they want in a free society, but what they do is not research.

    As for the Sun, it is what it is.

  27. Joe:

    Thank for clearing that up. I had to ask. It is too funny.


  28. I believe that we need to address education; However, how is more money going to make our system better? I believe there is a lot of waste and bloated salaries. There's a lot of classes students are required to take that are pointless for a persons degree. That guarentees a job for a teacher teachers who teach worthless clases are now going to have to justify their job. We do need to invest in our future, but we need to invest smart. Giving more money to an institution that is turning out the worst students in the country, we need to get rid of the people teaching. Now the teachers can blame the parents too, but your paid to teach. Teach them.

  29. Here are some contributors to John Ensign from the last half of 2010, when he totaled more than $120,000:

    The Adelson family (Sands) $26,000
    Steve Wynn/Andrea Hissom (Wynn) $20,000
    Tony Alamo (Mandalay) $10,000
    Bill Richardson (Mandalay) $10,000
    Terry Lanni (ex-MGM CEO) $10,000
    The Burning Tree Trust (J. Bergman, Mike Ensign neighbor) $10,000
    Yasmin, Oren Lukatz (Sands) $8,000
    Randell Roberts (Mandalay) $5,000
    Marc Schorr (Wynn) $5,000
    Duncan Lee (bizman) $3,000
    Tim Cashman (chamber) $1,000
    Ex-Rep. Barbara Vucanovich $1,000
    Peter Simon (Mandalay) $1,000

    Now you know why there are so many TAX BREAKS for the wealthy...and it costs them so little to get attention.

  30. Joe:

    Yeah, milksop is the term that comes to mind. I don't even bother opening the emails he sends via the Sun.

  31. Lamy you are incredibly lazy. You need to attack the facts, not the person.

    Turrialba, the facts are what they are. I'm not working backwards here. I see the facts and I'm reporting them. What do you disagree with?

    As for my K-12 experience I worked 1 semester as an actual history teacher for $9.25 an hour because I was not state certified. I did my own lesson plans, stayed after school to help students (was not paid for that) did parent teacher conferences after school (no pay for that either). At the end of the semester they found someone who had a certification and moved me to special education where No Child Left Behind requirements and state certification requirements were less stringent.

    My students signed a petition to keep me but the school district's hands were tied by strict certification rules. The state's alternative certification program was 2 years long, I opted not to waste my time.

    I did special education for the last semester of the year and moved on to work toward a PhD.

    Note, the person who replaced me as a history teacher was later convicted of possessing child pornography. Way to go state certification process!

    Unger, the cut is less than 8 percent. You're trying to ignore 80 percent of the budget. See the Cobb oped today, he claims the cuts will hurt portions of the budget you wanted to ignore yesterday.

  32. I agree with you Anthony. We have to overhaul. Time to target the limited resources in limited areas all through the system. K-12 fundamentals--remember those and a limited focus on the majors at the university and college levels.

  33. Sebring,

    Spending is not related to student proficiency. I took that blog post you cited to task and showed how they manipulated their charts and failed to do the most basic regression which proved there was not a statistically significant difference in student proficiency rates due to higher per-pupil spending.

    You can read more here:

  34. Most of you people need to learn to attack the facts, not the person. If you can't do that then you aren't civil enough or intellectually competent enough to engage in public debate.

  35. You heard the story. There are three people. The Billionaire, The Tea Party Activist and the Union Worker at a Table. There are 12 cookies of which the Billionaire takes 11 and then whispers to the Tea Party Activist " You better look out the Union Worker is going to get Yours". Its time for a fairer distribution of The Cookies and realizing The Billionaire is using infighting to take everything.

  36. Patrick:

    Let's face it when someone represents themselves as an expert in a particular field, your credentials are at issue. You have represented yourself as an expert in education and used your credentials (see website when at NPRI)and Western Wrangler to justify this and with arrogance. Indeed you earn a living telling people what is wrong with education, quoting other peoples' studies. It has to do with the credibility of the sources of information. You complain about the so-called "intellectual honesty" of some folks on this site. You are not in a position to do so. This isn't nice, but it is fair game.

    For most of us who read and post, we do not assert to be experts, only citizens who care about education to get mad about it and try to make it better. You can strive to achieve this.

  37. Patrick--stop sending stuff to my email. I don't read it. If you have something to say, say it here.

  38. Turri I've never misrepresented myself, someone was just trying to make a big deal out of nothing as a red herring from the points I brought up...I also cut and pasted what I posted above and sent to you just in case you never made your way back here. I wanted to make sure you saw what I wrote since you're making a big deal about something I've been upfront and honest about since day 1.

    That said, if you have any problems with the points I bring up address your concerns about them with me.

  39. Manny K,

    The UNLV official claimed the cut to UNLV was $47 million that would be around 4 percent of biennium spending (almost $1.1 billion).

    The official figures right now are general fund + lost ARRA which amounts to $258 million for NSHE as a whole. That is 7.4 percent of current spending (around $3.4 billion).

    To sum up, on one I was referring to just UNLV and on another it was system wide.

  40. Birdie I almost always skip your posts but here:

    Wrangle - to win or obtain by argument. So no I did not get the wrong definition.

    I decided to go with Wrangler (noun) to play on argumentation and the fact that I own a Jeep Wrangler (note the pics)...

  41. this all just disgusts me. If you don't think education is important, you're fooling yourself. If you don't think tuition needs to be raised, you're fooling yourself. If you think the rich conservatives care about anything other than making sure they stay as rich as possible, you're fooling yourself.

  42. So Jamy Lamy and Turiabla are the same person?

  43. Joe, please lay off the platitudes and deal with the facts. Please, also try to read for comprehension, often you follow up with statements that don't address anything I've said.

    As I pointed out before, the research shows that kids receiving a voucher outperform those kids who randomly did not receive a voucher and stayed behind in the traditional public schools. This suggests something other than parental involvement is going on with education. AND YES, these kids were poor kids randomly assigned to vouchers.

    Yes, parents can play a role, but so can good teachers. In fact putting a low-income minority kid in with a top tier teacher 3 years in a row can almost eliminate the rich-poor achievement gap. Good teachers matter ALOT! regardless of what goes on in the home.

    And frankly I'm tired of people blaming parents when they don't give parents a choice of where and how their child is even educated. That just isn't fair.

  44. Pat the Propagandist...
    The very definition fits you to a P.

  45. Are Patrick and Birdie the same person?

  46. Patrick the milksop.

  47. roseanroseannadanna...
    Your TeaNut logic never ceases to amuse.
    Sharron Angle must be very special in your world.