Las Vegas Sun

April 16, 2014

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SUN EDITORIAL:

The crayon syndrome

Nevada’s schools so broke they can’t even provide enough routine classroom supplies

Most office workers take for granted that copier paper, pens, tape, staples and other supplies necessary to performing their jobs will be provided by their employers. We can just imagine their reactions if their paychecks were docked to cover the cost of those supplies.

Nevada’s schoolteachers, though, have long been used to personally buying a lot of the construction paper, pencils, crayons, glue sticks, watercolors, wall decorations and other supplies they need to make their classrooms functional and attractive to their students.

With the deep cuts to education made this summer by the governor and the Legislature, as part of massive state budget cuts in response to falling sales and gaming taxes, teachers are now having to shell out considerably more from their own pockets for necessary supplies.

Reporter Emily Richmond reported in Friday’s Las Vegas Sun that many Clark County School District teachers say they expect to personally spend as much as $100 a month to keep their classrooms stocked.

“I’m very committed to making sure my kids have what they need,” teacher Nikki McCormick told Richmond.

Kudos to teachers willing to take on such an expense, but how embarrassing. Teachers, whose salaries are low for the work they do, should not have to pay for supplies that should be provided as part of the regular school budget.

Richmond reported that Clark County school officials are going to compensate for some of the lost supplies money by making deeper cuts in some administrative accounts. But with more cuts to school budgets anticipated by the Legislature next year, there is only so much “robbing Peter to pay Paul” that can be done.

For now, parents with the means should step up and contribute toward the supplies needed in their children’s classrooms.

For the long term, though, Nevada really needs to revise its tax policy so schools can be properly funded. It’s ridiculous when schools are so broke they can’t even afford enough crayons.

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