The state of Nevada was recently ranked 51st for education by the Education Week, "Quality Counts 2017" report. Nevada has trailed towards the bottom for several years. The 2017 Kids Count Report recently ranked Nevada 47th overall for a child's well-being and in 2017 Nevada ranked at the bottom for student performance in the ACT college entrance exam.
However, one statistic that is not as vigorously discussed is school funding. Did you know that Nevada ranks 48th in funding K-12 schools? The Education Law Center "National Report Card" awarded Nevada an “F” in education fundingdistribution and fiscal effort. The ELC also gave Nevada a failing grade for fiscal effort, measured as the proportion of the state's economic productivity that is invested in public education.
Did you know?
Nevada's per pupil expenditure averages $8,441 Nevada vs. the $12,156 national average
Nevada spends only 2.8 percent of state resources (taxes) on education compared to the national average of 3.3 percent.
Only 8.3 percent of Nevada's students receive the national average p/pupil funding compared to the national avg. of 38.6 percent.
The base funding used to pay for general operational costs has not kept up with inflation, essentially leaving funding flat for the last ten years. As a result of finances that do not keep up with expenditures school districts have had to make the following concessions:
Limited programs for Gifted and Talented students. Reduced AP Honors
Cuts/ foregoing school maintenance and repairs
Foregoing purchases of text books and other equipment.
Lack of career and technical education programs in rural schools
Cuts to school programs and resources
The Nevada Plan
The Nevada Plan, the state’s school funding formula dating back to 1967, is outmoded, broken and hasn’t be fixed. The formula simply fails to deliver the funding and resources needed to give Nevada public school children a meaningful opportunity to achieve today’s academic standards.
Funds from initiatives brought forward by the people to increase education funding, such as the marijuana tax ballot initiative passed in 2016 and the Room Tax initiative from 2009, did not increase funds for education as was intended by the voters.
Categoricals have been successful in addressing the needs of the most at-risk students but they are not stable, cannot help support increasing general operating costs and are not provided to every student in need.
While the Legislature appropriated a $30 million increase in the 2017-19 state biennium budget for special education, this increase falls short of the more than $400 million that all schools in Nevada have had to cover from their general budget to provide resources for special education children.