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?
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.
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
Overcrowded classrooms. Too few teachers. Aging education materials. Chronic budget cuts. And poor test scores.
As the drumbeat to better fund public education continues in Nevada, those are the hallmarks of the seemingly never-ending conversation. And over the coming months, it’s poised to get even louder. Last week, a group of parents, teachers, students and education partners announced the launch of the Fund Our Future Nevada coalition, which hopes to build momentum for the K-12 funding reforms it deems necessary.
Read more in The Nevada Independent.
A statewide campaign launched Tuesday demanded adequate funding for students and highlighted Nevada’s position as the worst state in the nation for education and its low ranking for education funding.
Teachers, students and other members of the Fund Our Future Nevada campaign stressed the need for public awareness of the issues, noting that while recent investments are helpful, they’re not enough.
“Nevada schools are crumbling,” said Connor Leeming, student body president at Palo Verde High School.
Read more in the LVRJ.
Tomiyasu Elementary School doesn’t get any special treatment.
The East Las Vegas school doesn’t receive extra state funding for students learning English or living in poverty through the state’s Zoom or Victory programs. It also hasn’t received a cash infusion from a fledgling weighted-funding formula that’s designed to allot more dollars based on students’ needs.
So by the time Principal Renee Muraco finishes paying staff salaries, she only has $43,000 left to cover everything else — pencils, paper, crayons, custodial supplies.
Read more in The Nevada Independent.
Nevada has again ranked last in the nation for education — but state education officials don’t want the public to despair.
The Silver State landed at 51st out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia in Education Week magazine’s latest Quality Counts report, frequently used as a national comparison for the quality of public education in each state.
Like last year, the state earned an overall grade of D — below the country’s national C grade. - Las Vegas Review-Journal
A nationwide education trend might be coming to Nevada, but it’s not necessarily one that overseers of the public school system will welcome.
Nevada could soon join the ranks of states that have been sued over the way they fund public education. Education activist groups and other parties already have filed such court challenges in 45 states, and several public school advocates active in Nevada have indicated they are considering such a step. - Las Vegas Review Journal
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