After more than 50 years on the job, the Nevada Plan, the state’s education funding formula, announced it is ready to retire.
“At first, my job was fun and I was doing great helping all students, but now I’m just the oldest education funding formula around. I can’t keep up with all those other younger and more modern formulas in other states and it shows,” the Nevada Plan said. “I mean, I was hired the same year Elvis got married, and 40 years later he had a life-tribute Cirque du Soleil show on The Strip — and even that retired.”
Starting back in 1967, the Nevada Plan remembers the time when Nevada was much smaller and looked very different. “Back then, schools didn’t have much in the way of standards, assessments, and all that. It was just about just getting kids into their seats,” the Nevada Plan noted, “Nowadays, folks are a lot more particular about what goes on in the classroom. It’s hard for me to keep up.”
"I love my job and my students, but I can't afford to care for them all anymore — there are so many more students now than when I started! There are more demands on me and I'm stretched so thin. I have to be selective about who I can care for, and that's just not right," the Nevada Plan added.
Nevada is currently ranked among the worst-funded states for education in the country. Coincidentally, in its 50-plus years on the job, the Nevada Plan was routinely overlooked or skipped over for raises and cost of living adjustments.
"Being 48th worst-funded in the nation makes me feel like my work is not valued and neither is educating Nevada's students. I have been struggling to make ends meet for the longest time. How am I supposed to care for 420,000 students? I'm not built for that."
Some legislators aren't eager for the Nevada Plan to retire because they know bringing in a New Plan would mean having to meet current national standards and would require a significant financial investment.
"I'm ready for retirement," the Nevada Plan said. "I can pack up my Beatles 8-track tapes, collect my calculator, slide ruler and ledger pads, and be on my way. The students would do better with a fresh, new plan that considers all of their diverse needs and the current costs of education. I'm not doing them any good here."
Editor's Note: Created in 1967, the Nevada Plan is the oldest funding formula in the country. Many states have modernized their formula several times in the last couple of decades. The Nevada Plan is outdated and doesn’t account for the actual cost of educating students. As a result of its funding mechanisms, new funds intended to supplement education are supplanted instead and don't necessarily increase education funding.. Fund Our Future Nevada is calling on Legislators to retire the Nevada Plan and replace it with a new plan that properly accounts for changing demographics, population growth, and unique needs of students to prepare them to college and career ready upon graduation.
If you support retiring the Nevada Plan for a modernized funding formula that supports ALL Nevada students and provides more resources for our public schools Take The Pledge to Fund Our Future NV.
The Review-Journal’s Tuesday editorial claimed that unions and Democrats are “paving the way for massive tax hikes for schools.”
But anyone who thinks Nevada has been pouring money into education hasn’t been paying attention. We rank at or near the bottom in every metric of education funding, and we still are not even funding schools at pre-recession levels.
How can that be? Don’t we always hear about new taxes for schools — the Commerce tax, room tax and marijuana taxes?
“Nevada legislators told education funding is 58% of ‘adequate’” — that was the headline that topped the Las Vegas Review-Journal after a presentation by education funding experts at a recent Nevada Legislative Committee meeting.
While it was sobering to hear, the study was not surprising as it referenced several other studies in the past that demonstrated that same thing: Nevada does not fund education adequately. Funding “adequately” simply means providing students the funds for necessary resources to achieve and be college- and career-ready.
Key highlights from the Augenblick, Palaich and Associates presentation and report:
A new report by the Clark County teachers union advocates that state lawmakers allow local school districts to raise extra money on their own to support education.
The 22-page paper was released last week by the Clark County Education Association, ahead of the 2019 legislative session. The paper recognizes the progress made in education funding over the last five years, but it says students can’t wait for an overhaul of the state funding system and that steps should be taken now to allow local funding opportunities.
“We believe that local funding should come with strong accountability measures to ensure new revenue is spent on proven intervention strategies to advance student achievement,” the paper says. “And we believe Nevada’s students can’t wait for a lengthy and expensive overhaul of the Nevada Plan.”
The Nevada education community is on the hunt for a magical number.
The mystery number — probably large and most likely unachievable all at once — is the dollar figure that could propel the state’s long-struggling K-12 system to higher ground through better class sizes, resources and programs.
But this search won’t end in a hefty check delivered to each school district with no strings attached. The education funding debate is just as much about the finance formula and classroom expectations as it is about the money. That was a key takeaway of a meeting last week that brought together the movers and shakers of Nevada’s education world.
The average student-to-teacher ratio in Nevada K-12 public schools is 26–1. In many cases the number is much higher. In one post on Fund Our Future’s Facebook page a teacher posted that she had more than 50 students in her middle school beginning orchestra class and described it as “hanging on for dear life.” Sadly, this teacher is not alone. All across Nevada class sizes are getting larger. According to a report by the National Education Association, Nevada’s 26 –1 teacher ratio is already the highest in the nation followed by Arizona and Utah. READ MORE...
Last Thursday, June 21 at the Interim Legislative Committee on Education, Fund Our Future NV coalition members and other parents, teachers and community members came out in full force to advocate for improvements to Nevada’s K-12 funding.
It was inspiring to see a room so full of community members for public comment, especially in the middle of the summer. In fact, there were so many people in line to speak that Education Committee Chair Senator Mo Denis had a firm two-minute rule on public comment. Despite the many issues that were covered, it was clear that education funding is the most pressing. Read More...
On Thursday, June 21st. Fund Our Future submitted public comment to the Interim Legislative Education Committee requesting that they consider revamping the funding formula, increasing education funds and ensure new education tax dollars like Marijuana and Room Tax dollars supplement and don't supplant. Read the proposal below.
Amid concerns of overcrowding, ongoing public mistrust and the loss of school staffers, the Clark County School Board approved a final budget for the 2018-19 school year Monday that mended a $68 million deficitannounced this month.
The latest $2.4 billion budget was adjusted to address the shortfall, caused primarily by two arbitration decisions over teacher salaries that the district recently lost.
The district is fighting one arbitration loss over the 2017-18 teachers contract in court. Meanwhile, district schools cut $47 million from their individual budgets, with $132 per student cut in elementary schools, $153 in middle schools and $184 in high schools.
Read more: Las Vegas Review-Journal
Las Vegas - Nevada has the largest student-to-teacher ratio in the nation for the second year in a row, according to the 2018 National Education Association Rankings and Statistics(NEA).
With 25.86 average students per teacher (some classrooms more than twice as large) Nevada has the largest classrooms in the nation, followed by Arizona and Utah. Based on past reports from the NEA, the average class size in Nevada has increased by seven students in just three years straining the workload of our educators.
“With such large class sizes and uncertainty about pay raises and resources it’s no wonder our teachers are so stressed,” said Michelle Booth, Communications Director at Educate Nevada Now. “We keep saying we care about our students and teachers but statistics like this say otherwise.”
The report comes on the heels of the Clark County School District announcing budget cuts that will likely lead to even larger class sizes.
In addition, when accounting for salary per classroom per pupil, Nevada teachers are the third-worst paid in the nation.
Other rankings of note from the report:
“The State recently dedicated additional dollars for education, but those funds were restricted and could not be used for expenses like teacher salaries. It’s time we fund the base so that our schools can keep up with operating expenses and focus on student achievement,” said Caryne Shea, Vice President of HOPE For Nevada
Teachers, parents, and students are you aware of any extremely large class sizes? Tell us about it, we want to hear your stories. Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Read our blog posts, Op-eds and relevant news about K-12 funding in Nevada.