Las Vegas Sun

March 29, 2015

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Hundreds urge lawmakers to battle proposed cuts to education

It was a standing-room only, largely partisan crowd Monday night at Green Valley High School that urged state lawmakers to fight budget cuts in education proposed by Gov. Brian Sandoval. The crowd consisted mainly of teachers and those who supported them.

Perhaps the most poignant testimony, however, was by an 8-year-old boy whose swinging feet didn't touch the floor as he sat and leaned toward the microphone.

Christopher Hughes, a third-grader at Beatty Elementary School, told the joint subcommittee of the Legislature: "I am worried."

Hughes said budget cuts would hurt education but also the availability of school nurses. He said he has diabetes.

Hughes said later, "I testified because I want to protect every program in my school, including library, art, music and physical education." He added: "The other kids are upset, too, because they like learning."

His mother, Geo Hughes, said there were times in the past when Christopher's blood sugar ran low and he became sick. Sometimes there wasn't a full-time school nurse or paraprofessional available, she said.

"Christopher is a bright child," his mother said. "He's in a program for gifted and academically talented students. I'm afraid programs like that won't be there for my son."

The hearing was co-chaired by Assemblywoman Debbie Smith, chairwoman of the Ways and Means Committee, and Sen. Steven Horsford, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Horsford is also the state Senate majority leader. Both are Democrats.

Republicans, such as Assistant Senate Minority Leader Barbara Cegavske, also attended.

Jeff Weiler, the Clark County School District's chief financial officer, testified that cuts proposed by Sandoval exceed $250 million or more per year.

The cuts equal $870 per student, Weiler said, with current spending at about $7,000 each year.

The first constituent who testified was 72-year-old Dan Hickey, a physician's assistant in Las Vegas.

"My daddy said don't spend money that you don't got," said Hickey, to silence. He said the school district had services that were duplicated by local government, including school district police.

Hickey concluded by telling the lawmakers: "Don't spend money that I don't got."

More popular were remarks like that of John J. Carr, president of the Education Support Employees Association: "Mr. Sandoval, this is not 'Little House on the Prairie.' Don't fund it as if it were."

The auditorium at Green Valley was crowded mainly with adults, while about 200 students and parents outside the room listened on a public-address system.

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  1. What a sad day for Nevada -- when a child of eight must defend his education so eloquently against a selfish senior who can't speak a grammatically correct sentence!

  2. Chunky says:

    No one and no entity can sustain spending more than it earns or takes in in revenue.

    Learn to do more with less with some ingenuity and hard work to make it work.

    Fuss, fight, protest and complain all you want but expenses have to be cut across the board.

    That's what Chunky thinks!

  3. Hurray, today Governor Sandoval released more unfunded mandates about how we're supposed to fix our education system. It saddens me to see Nevada demanding "more reforms" while expecting "more for less".
    Welcome to reality, where you get lesser results for less money. This whole slash and burn ideology is garbage.

    Mining pays .5% in taxes while I pay a higher rate with just sales tax and people like Chunky continue to scream that they can't afford the reforms but still expect them. I am leaving this sinking ship called Nevada for a state that actually values education; just like many people before me.

    Nevada can't be bothered to invest in education I'm sure not going to bother investing in it. I advise anyone else with an education and a brain to do the same.

  4. Any State that values Prostitution as an income source will only attract scrappers as new businesses.

    "Up with Prostitution, Down with Education."

    That will be the title of many websites being designed to tell businesses what to expect when they move here.

  5. Put an 8 year child at the microphone....give me a break.

  6. are 100% correct. I spoke last night at the meeting. I tried to make the point, Parents need to invest in their kids education.

    Senator Horsford cut me off. Said my time was up...

    I guess he is not interested in any other solution than to raise taxes on business.

  7. when you start touting education as a PRIVILEGE and not a RIGHT, it's the sign of the beginning of the end for America. Now I'm not against parents having to pay money to put their kids into school, but the previous mentioned idea is one of the reasons why America is being left in the dust. I personally don't have children and I have no problems paying taxes that fund education.

  8. Taxes need to be raised on mining. These foreign companies pay next to nothing in taxes while their employees enjoy expensive public services.

    If the Republicans in Carson City have their way, then the tax breaks for small businesses that were part of the tax package two years ago will be allowed to expire. Increased taxes are not what small business needs right now. The Democrats need to insist that mining pays its fair share, and this "financial crisis" would disappear.

  9. The problem is not a lack of taxes imposed and collected.....but the politicians overspending and wastefulness.

    Simple as that.