This is a press release submitted to the Las Vegas Sun. It has not been verified or edited by the Sun.
Nevada’s Public Education Needs Adequate Funding
Published on Tue, Oct 2, 2012 (11:12 a.m.)Nevada’s Public Education Needs Adequate Funding
A major overhaul of the funding system is needed
Las Vegas, Nevada, Oct. 2, 2012 -- The Clark County Education Association (CCEA), the union of teaching professionals and the bargaining representative for the more than 17,000 Clark County public school teachers, applauds those who recognize that we must fund English Language Learner programs in Clark County and the need to revamp the antiquated Nevada Plan.
While we are encouraged by these efforts, they don’t go far enough and only provide a band-aid approach to Nevada’s public education funding crisis. A recent study commissioned by the Legislature demonstrates that the Nevada Plan, the formula used to fund public schools in the state, must be reformed to meet the needs of the state’s student population. This change cannot be implemented with a piece-meal approach, and cannot be implemented at the expense of students in smaller counties. We encourage lawmakers to not only look at how state funding is distributed to school districts but also address the fact that Nevada’s schools need more funding.
Adequate funding must be provided for K-12 public education so that every student in Nevada can be provided with the level of education that will prepare them for academic success and graduation. Simply put, the Distributive School Account would need an increase of at least $900 million to restore its previous funding levels.
As frontline educators living with the consequences of an ill funded education system, we know that increasing the English Language Learner programs by $20 million for Clark County, though long overdue, will only marginally address the needs of a growing and diverse statewide student population. So we must ask of our legislators and Governor Sandoval, “What is adequate funding?” We believe the first step to address this is for the Governor and lawmakers to support the Education Initiative sponsored by the Nevada State Education Association (NSEA). This initiative will generate more than $800 million annually to the state budget for K-12 funding.
Clark County teachers are ready to engage in conversation with Democratic & Republican legislators, as well as Governor Sandoval, regarding adequate funding for public education. Unless legislators learn about the real needs in the classroom, they won’t be able to properly meet those needs – needs that, if unmet, will hurt our students’ opportunities for a brighter future.