Las Vegas, NV - Parents, students, teachers and education advocates from various parts of Nevada gathered yesterday at Tomiyasu elementary school to announce the Fund Our Future Nevada coalition and campaign to lobby for increased funds for Nevada’s K-12 system.
“Nevada remains one of the lowest funded states for education in the nation and our students are suffering as a result. It’s time we recognize that we have to increase funding for our schools,” said Educate Nevada Now Legal Director, Sylvia Lazos.
Students and teachers from Clark and Washoe discussed the challenges of limited resources and the large class sizes that don’t allow for individualized attention.
“As student body president, I consistently see budgets in schools being slashed, and although Nevada business is booming, once again our schools remain isolated and forgotten in the shadows,” said Palo Verde High School student, Connor Leeming.
Paul Johnson, the CFO for White Pine County expressed the difficulties rural school districts face and the uncertainty the new categorical funds present.
“We are grateful for the new funds but the fact that they have to be approved every legislative session makes it difficult to recruit teachers to move to our districts when they are funded through programs that aren’t guaranteed past two years,” he said.
Members of the coalition advocated for an increase to the base funding that pays for transportation, textbooks, school maintenance, salaries and other operating expenses.
“When adjusted for inflation the base funding for our education system has remained flat for the last ten years even while costs have increased,” said Lazos.
“It’s hard to blame the budget shortfalls on mismanagement when we see that many of our school districts are struggling,” said former first lady Sandy Miller.
The coalition also highlighted the $1.2 billion from the 2009 Room Tax meant to increase education funds that legislators have instead shifted to fill budget holes, along with the retail tax from marijuana sales that was allocated to the state’s rainy day fund.
“It’s so frustrating for me to hear people complain about our public education and say, ‘We’ve given them money and they haven’t been able to make improvements.’ When in fact that money hasn’t been used as the voters intended,” said Jenn Blackhurst president of HOPE for Nevada parent advocacy group.
Coalition members will continue to educate the community about the need for increased funds for schools and advocate to prioritize this issue during the next legislative session.
For more information and to sign the pledge to support the demand for increased K-12 funds visit www.FundOurFutureNV.com.
To support the campaign on social media use #FundOurFutureNV