Q: What is the goal of the Fund Our Future Coalition? A: The coalition want to ensure Nevada public schools have sufficient funds to provide all the appropriate and necessary resources students need to succeed. We believe our students deserve the following:
A new education funding formula that accounts for evolving demographic changes and that appropriately funds the needs of every Nevada student.
Lawmakers who respect and reflect the will of taxpayers and voters by using new revenue sources, such as the Marijuana Tax and Room Tax, to increase public education funding rather than to fill budget holes in other areas.
Increased funds that come with accountability, stability and resources to ensure a Return on the Investment in our students and their academic success.
Q: Why should we invest additional dollars into education? A: A well educated community has a positive impact its well-being and local economy.
In an interview with the Las Vegas Sun, Bank of Nevada CEO, John Guedry, said “Our ability to diversify Nevada’s economy is absolutely tied to the improvements we make in educational outcomes, student proficiencies, higher graduation rates and expansion of workforce training.”
●Economic development agencies have reported that businesses shun Nevada because of its underfunded K-12 systems. Citing:
>Uneducated and unqualified workers who are unable to meet the demands of private businesses.
>A subpar public school system that employers don’t want to subject their children or their employees’ children to.
Q: Didn't Nevada recently invest millions of additional dollars for education? A: The increased education funds from the last two sessions have increased student achievement, however they are restricted-use funds and cannot be equated with increases in overall funding. Those funds cannot go towards general operating expenses such as increased transportation costs, employee salaries, maintenance etc. Furthermore, restricted-use funds are unreliable, as they must be reauthorized each session.
Q: How do we know Nevada needs additional funds for education? A: A study commissioned by the Legislature to analyze its funding formula, Nevada Plan (Distributive School Account) found that Nevada needs to invest at least $1.6 billion additional dollars to meet federal and state mandates. Nevada also ranks 48th in education funding and was given an “F” for funding from the Education Law Center’s National Report Card.
Q: How do we ensure an increase in funds targets all the students who need it? A: The state needs to modify The Nevada Plan to account for needs of unique student populations such as English Language Learners, special education, at-risk, and gifted and talented students (GATE) and provide appropriate additional funds (weights) for each of those students in the Nevada K-12 public system.
Q: Isn’t mismanagement the most critical issue? A: Nevada K-12 funding has only increased by an average of 1.3 percent, not even keeping up with the true inflation rates districts face. This makes it difficult to keep up with increased salary demands, healthcare costs, rising utility costs, unfunded mandates and other growing expenses. Several school districts across the state arefacing similar budget shortfalls and are having to make cuts in their budgets, as well as enduring increasing class sizes just to balance their budgets. While mismanagement could be an issue, increased costs that don’t keep up with revenue can cause a shortfall in any organization. Q: What assurance do we have that an increase in funds will be used appropriately? A: The legislature needs to include accountability provisions and proven methods of success that address the needs outlined by the purpose of additional funds.
Q: What steps need to occur to increase an investment in education? A: One step is to ensure that all funds from the IP1 2009 Room Tax and Marijuana Tax go towards increasing education funding, and that the Room Tax dollars go towards education programs and to recruit and retain quality educators as was intended by the law. We also need to encourage our lawmakers to acknowledge that Nevada falls short in funding its students. We must commit to showing that Nevada values its students by properly funding their educational needs.