Thursday, May 21, 2009 | 8:06 p.m.
CARSON CITY – The Senate has given final approval to a bill to send $2.4 billion in state funds to Nevada’s public schools in the next two years.
Under the bill, the basic support guarantee per pupils for next fiscal year is $5,251 compared to the present $5,213. But it’s higher than the $4,945 recommended by Gov. Jim Gibbons.
Sen. Michael Schneider, D-Las Vegas, said the bill includes $600 million in federal stimulus funds but he added that funding for public schools is still low.
“We’re racing to the bottom in funding,” Schneider said. “We can’t let our kids in K-12 flounder.”
He introduces a bill every session to bring Nevada’s funding of public schools to equal or surpass the national average. But the bill never gets approval.
“Good high-quality companies turn their back on Nevada because our education funding is so low,” Schneider said.
Sen. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, complained that state employees are not being treated equally. “There are winners and losers and K-12 folks are winners,” he said.
He said state workers are going to get hit with a double-digit drop in salary and benefits.
Amodei was the lone dissenting vote.
Assembly Bill 563 provides money for 3,049 special education units for each of the next two years. It sets aside $121.2 million. The Clark County School District will receive $76.5 million in each of the coming two years for 1,925 special education classes.
The bill sets the basic support guarantee per pupil for Clark County at $5,025 for next fiscal year and to $5,179 in 2011.
The bill now goes to the governor.