Las Vegas Sun

February 28, 2015

Currently: 61° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Democrats pass education budget $700 million over governor’s plan

Sen. Mike Schneider

Sen. Mike Schneider

Sen. Michael Roberson

Sen. Michael Roberson

Democrats in the Legislature passed a K-12 education budget with $700 million more in funding than Gov. Brian Sandoval recommended, sending it to an almost certain death by veto.

The passage continued to increase tensions between Democrats, who have proposed a $1.2 billion tax increase, and Republicans, who have stuck so far with Sandoval’s promise not to raise taxes.

The strain became apparent during discussion of the education funding bill, Assembly Bill 568, as the dialogue in the state Senate devolved.

Freshman Sen. Michael Roberson, R-Henderson, accused Democrats of being “beholden to public sector unions.”

Sen. Mike Schneider, D-Las Vegas, in turn, protested the “rookie from Green Valley.”

There are usually meltdowns at the Legislature. But rarely do they come so early and in so public a forum.

It highlights the distance between the two sides over the budget.

Democrats don’t have the two-thirds votes necessary to pass a tax increase. Republicans, who are in the minority in both the Assembly and the Senate, don’t have the votes to pass Sandoval’s budget.

The increased funding for the K-12 budget passed on party lines in both houses.

Senate Minority Leader Mike McGinness said he had no notice that the bills would be pushed today.

Sandoval senior adviser Dale Erquiaga said the bill was introduced and passed under emergency procedures in a matter of hours.

“We believe the legislative budget process should be open and transparent, yet today’s action is contrary to those goals,” he said in a statement. “Because of this, the Governor will not comment until we’ve had a chance to review this legislation in full.”

It was high drama on the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon after Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-North Las Vegas gave an impassioned plea to fund K-12 education.

“Our children don’t have belts to tighten,” he said. “Schools are cutting back on pencils.”

Roberson accused Horsford of “lecturing” Republicans about the budget. He said real reforms to things like education couldn’t pass because of Democrats’ alliance with public sector unions.

“I’m not going to vote to tax the people of Nevada — yet again — to put more money into a system we all know is broken,” he said. “That does not mean we’re anti-education, anti-teacher or anti-children.”

After Roberson’s speech, Schneider stood up.

“He just got here,” Schneider said, referring to the freshman Roberson.

Schneider criticized Roberson for signing a pledge not to raise taxes, before Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, president of the Senate and in charge of procedures, told him not to make his comments personal.

Roberson went on to call Schneider an “old-timer” and repeated that “the majority party is beholden to public sector unions.”

Horsford said, “I have never had a member question the integrity of the members of this body. Ever.”

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 19 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. Come on Sando - really defy the will of the Dems and sign on the dotted line totally screwing up their veto plan - that'll really throw them off!

  2. LivinInLV: It's $700 million. It was fixed, but you caught it before the page refreshed. Thanks.

  3. This quote proves that Roberson has no idea what's going on: "I'm not going to vote to tax the people of Nevada -- yet again -- to put more money into a system we all know is broken," he said. "That does not mean we're anti-education, anti-teacher or anti-children."

    The Republicans are INSISTING ON TAXING the people of this state through salary reductions, furloughs, and layoffs. They wanted to take 5% of Nevadan's pay earlier in the day! Roberson and his bad crew don't represent the people of this state-they represent the foreign mining corporations WHO HAVEN'T BEEN TAXED ANYTHING they have had to pay. They write off their paultry 5% net profits tax and the working people of this state get to subsidize them!

    If you are sick of Republicans like Roberson lying to the people of this state and spending our tax money on Canadians and Europeans, call your legislator at 1-800-978-2878 and demand that Gov. Sandogibbons budget be DUMPED!

  4. The Sandoval veto will be the equivalent of George Wallace standing in the school house door.

  5. I love teaching, and I love kids. I just returned from a 3 hr training regarding the new Common Core State Standards. I am a teacher leader and the DC for the math department at my school, learning the new Common Core State Standards being implemented as a result of our Race to the Top funding. (Oh, hmmm...where did that funding go, by the way?) I am fine with the changes. I think they are a good thing. What's wrong with the picture though? We have NO funding for implementing them properly! Our current textbooks don't support them at all-we will be forced to scrounge for materials. Yet,I am OK with this. With proper communication within departments, this can be done. It will be a lot of work,but we'll do it. Book companies are going to develop materials, but those will cost $$ and we're broke. I give great thanks to RPDP and CPD for all they have done so far to get things ready for next year for us. Hopefully they will be funded next year (fingers crossed) to provide us the training required, because this is a whole new way of teaching. If they aren't funded, we will be on our own. We might not even have Staff Development Days (due to furloughs)for the Teacher Leaders to pass on the information to our departments. Isn't it scary? This is going to affect YOUR kids AND my kids too. I have 3 kids in CCSD, so I have a vested interest. Our state applies for funds to improve our system; our governor cuts said funds, leaving us with next to nothing (phooey on his "generous" statement to return of the newly found $274,000,000-a crock, if you are able to read between the lines). What ticks me off? We, as teachers, could be held to the new standards of the new, unfunded, system. While we're at it, let's base 50% of the teachers' evaluations on student performance. Great idea. We are in trouble. I am not worried about my pay. I have 3 jobs (a typical plight for a teacher, by they way, I have a BS in Math, a BS.ED in Math, and an MS in Math)-yet I need 3 jobs to make ends meet with a family of 5. I don't pity myself-I accept my life for what it is. People need to remember though-while you are sitting around enjoying family time, there is a teacher (a lot of them, actually)out there, working another job, grading papers, planning lessons, and countless other things-missing out on their family time to take care of your kids so they can receive an education that is being sorely underfunded. What Governor Sandoval and his Republican party are doing is so wrong on so many levels. Yes, education needs reform. Common Core State Standards are a good start. FUND it PLEASE. Work from there and see how it goes. Don't try doing everything at once though. Apply caution and reason. He truly is balancing the budget on hard working families---families that touch the future and enjoy working with kids. What a sad, short-sighted, and narrow-minded viewpoint....all to help out the mines.

  6. There is money in this state. It is a plan to keep screaming that we are broke - but we can ask big business to pay their fair share, particularly mining which is making billions each quarter to pay for the gold they haul out of this place.

    Schools are not part of the financial problems. The Republicans are making a concerted effort to use very biased data to kill public schools. Let's not forget - it was fraud by big business and wall street speculations, that caused the collapse of the economy. It was never me and my 20 first graders that put us in the financial hole. The GOP can disparaged me and my job and my union and pout and scream and throw up their hands - but I don't have any money to give. And I'm tired of being the scapegoat for all the problems in the universe.

    I didn't give out bad loans. I didn't speculate in the housing market. I didn't play games with other people's money until they had nothing left. Whatever a teacher may have done - we aren't the source of all that is evil. There needs to be reform for sure - big business needs to learn that people will get tired of being stepped on. Pay your fair share!

    Ask mining to quit deducting everything and the kitchen sink from their taxes . . . $4.3 BILLION in deductions is excessive. When you are paying so little to lay claim to the gold - the least you can do is pay your fair share without making up excuses for deducting your housing expenses and your insurance and your Canadian executive salaries.

    You can reform me all you want and take my money -- but that is not going to solve any financial crisis, even if you take my entire check all year. The real problem is the corporations bankrupting our economy, buying politicians like our Governor, and stealing your gold.

  7. "The system is broken, the system is broken, bawk! Bawk! BAWWWWK!!!"

    "We should try SPENDING LESS! SO WHAT if we're down next to Mississippi in EDUCATION SPENDING AND OUTCOMES...if we spend less and get the SAME result, we WIN, right?"

    "Make the Teacher's take a PAY & BENEFIT CUT... that'll TEACH THEM...They're obviously BAD at what they do; right?"

    "Let's cut the CLASSROOM BUDGETS...another cut in pay for Teachers, which I just LOVE! THEY pony up half that budget already... We'll make TEACHING IN NEVADA the JOKE OF THE NATION...NO ONE will come here to teach; won't that be GREAT?"

    "No ESL classes, or ELL, or whatever they call teaching "those kids" to speak the English language. Teachers have it too easy, man! Make THEM teach proper English to our young HisMexiSpan's...what are they called again?"

    "Why does Higher Ed have all these goofy BASKET WEAVING majors, anyhow? CUT CUT CUT!!! If these Professors were any good at all, they'd have a REAL JOB, in the REAL WORLD. What do these "academic types" know of the sacrifices of the private sector employee, ha? NOTHING! And they don't DO ANYTHING!"

    "In Nevada proper, your "education" comes from "real world experience"... you know... hookers, beggars, pimps, dope dealers, gamblers, booze hounds, thieves, scam artists, con men, interaction with Law Enforcement and the Courts, payday loan applications, markers, whales, degenerates of all shapes and sizes; WE LIVE IN A VERITABLE EDUCATIONAL VORTEX!"

    "Why do we even HAVE publicly funded EDUCATION? Why can't we just sit em' in front of the Googles & Internets and let NATURE TAKE IT'S COURSE! The whole thing is a SCAM BY PARENTS TO GET FREE DAYCARE!"

    I just LOVE TeaNut Logic...ain't it special?

  8. It is very transparent that the efforts to destroy education in this state are not financially motivated but politically and anti-intellectually motivated. In the eyes of the wealthy "elites" supporting these anti-education efforts (Koch brothers, e.g.), an uneducated populace is one more easily controlled and enslaved in a world of "haves" and "have nots" where only the children of these "elites" have the opportunity for a real education - just like in the "good old days" of the Depression and earlier. If Governor Sandoval vetoes this proposal, there will inevitably be negative consequences for Republicans in Nevada. In Wisconsin, there are already numerous efforts to recall various Republican politicians there for their roles in the education scandal. Governor Sandoval should ponder his options very carefully.

  9. Why doesn't the Governing bodies of Nevada just come right out and say, "NO MORE TEACHERS!" They don't care about the children of this state at all! If they did, they would make education a #1 priority.

    Every time there is another vote for education, it's about where to cut funding, and how to cut teachers. That's not putting Kids first!!!

    Try taking away teachers for one full year, and I mean ALL teachers. College, High School, Middle School, Elementary, Private, Tech School, Card Dealer, Bar-tending, Drivers Education, ALL TEACHERS, and see what happens to our Government Funding.

    It's not the teachers' fault there is no money for education, but the Government would sure make it look that they.

    So again, just fire all teachers, and let the parents figure out how to teach there children to read, write, spell, and function as a working adults, and then there would be enough money left in the system for a new sports arena.

  10. Republicans nationwide are trying to balance their State budgets by cutting education. Notice they all have common religious agendas, which is moving public money into financing Charter and religious schools.

    Sandoval is trying to alter the State Constitution to create public funding of religious schools, HIS religion in particular. Tax reductions for those that can afford $500/bottle for Vodka and public funding of religion - that's the long term objective, not concern for the public.

  11. More irresponsible budgeting by the Democrats. We can't afford to spend more money than we're currently spending.

    That isn't compromise by the way....

  12. William Hilton, don't be nonsensical. Government workers in Nevada got pay raises well through 2009 - 2 years into our recession - while everyone else took severe pay cuts or job losses.

    Government workers have lived large off the backs of hard working Nevadans throughout this entire recession.

  13. Mr. Pravica,

    Maybe you could use your mathematical superpowers to PROVE spending more money actually improves education?

    because from where I'm standing, pretty much all the experts agree that extra spending DOESN'T improve education it just funds jobs for adults.

  14. WHY has the Nevada State LEGISLATORS(and Governor Sandoval), again, gone to near-avoidance touching the issue of TAX REFORM of the MINING, GAMING/RESORT, AND BIG BOX STORES???

    They are running out of time (once again---so THIS SESSION AS WELL, will be a continuation of the 30+ years of FAILURE of the ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES in the Nevada State Legislature to address the few who control the quality of life for the many people in this state.

    Ya all should be playing Bob Dylan's song,"Gotta Serve Somebody," from Slow Train Coming, 1979, in the Carson City State Capitol elevators.

    I realize politics is a type of chess game. This particular game is old, worn out, and hurting real people deeply. With the ways things are going, it would not surprise me that folks start moving into civil unrest. Their support systems are being destroyed while foreigners (mining, gaming/resorts, & big box stores) are allowed to take all they want from the state. Not a very fair game.

    WHO DO YOU SERVE, LEGISLATORS & Governor Sandoval?

  15. Gibbons:

    America's superpower status in large part to one person: Vannevar Bush, who convinced FDR to create the National Science Foundation and other agencies whose goals were to fund scientific research. It is that postwar boom in scientific research that more than anything expanded America's economy. Today, multinational globalist corporations rarely fund research but expect the US government to do so via programs such as SBIR, STTR, etc. This public investment in research is the best that was ever made in the history of humanity. It enabled the development of the transistor, IC chips, computer, super computer, world wide web, jet propulsion, DNA discovery, drug development, etc. etc. etc. Without educated scientists who made these discoveries, we would still be a largely agrarian backwater which is what you seem to want to revert to. Tragically, today, our scientifically-illiterate leaders have forgotten what is was that made America so great and are jeopardizing our success by reducing funding for education and scientific research. We are currently watching our nation collapse in real time as we merely coast on the laurels of our past achievements.
    I don't have to "prove" anything. The record stands for itself: without a strong educational system here in the US, we will revert to a third world nation rapidly. You, on the other hand, haven't been able to prove anything thus far despite your desperate and extreme anti-education arguments. False data results in false conclusions.

  16. To support Joe Lamy's excellent post:
    I worked in industry before taking jobs in academia. I can honestly say that I have never worked harder than when I became a professor. Whether it is preparing for my lectures, assigning homework, grading quizzes, writing letters of recommendation, applying for grants, performing ground breaking research vital to our national security, participating in University committees, performing community service (e.g. public lectures and other outreach), helping students during office hours and/or physics learning center, supervising my physics students on experiments at national laboratories, dealing with administrative matters associated with my research (writing, delivering, and uploading progress reports, paying for and installing equipment, purchasing chemicals), etc. etc. etc. I cannot believe that there are some in this state and elsewhere that think I have it easy or that I don't earn every penny I make! As one who was very fortunate to attend some very excellent schools in communities where higher education was considered a critical given, I just simply cannot believe the lack of support for higher education in this state by some of my fellow Americans.
    The fact is that when Sputnik was launched by the Soviets, a shock wave was felt around the world that the Soviet Union, which had been decimated by Hitler could in a mere 20 years rebuild Herself and win the Space race (and possess quite a storehouse of nuclear weapons to boot). Immediately thereafter, money suddenly became available to support science and math education. A Golden Age of science followed that resulted in a plethora of scientific miracles (fiber optic communications, satellite technology, rocket science - literally - vacuum technology, materials science such as high strength low density materials like Kevlar and Kapton, etc. etc. etc. Now, this money for education of the populace and scientific research is shrinking because people such as Patrick R. Gibbons think that teachers can live on air, and America's most glorious moment in 1969 when we landed on the Moon is but a distant and ever-fading memory amidst today's unceasing anti-intellectual distractions. We are likely to encounter more Sputnik moments in the near future with China's inevitable rise, and predicted overtaking of the US economy as the world's largest. By then, it may be too late as people such as Patrick Gibbons are working very hard to destroy any future ability of our nation to adapt and successfully counter unforeseen but inevitable threats to our democratic way of life.

  17. and the minority party is beholden to Private Business Interest. So who's in the wrong Roberson?

  18. The dems should have tried to pass something more realistic--like adding $350 million more. The ploy is about partisan politics and not funding education.

  19. @rejecto: we teachers write comments to these articles because of people like YOU that hide behind anonymous screen-names to avoid broadcasting your ignorance. If we don't fight for ourselves and inform the public of what is really going on in the public school system, there will be a lot more unfortunate souls out there in the same position. I have to get back to grading papers now.