Las Vegas Sun

December 19, 2014

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School superintendents call for long-term funding strategy, more money

Nevada education officials called for more education funding today at a meeting at the Legislature.

But they stopped short of embracing a business margins tax proposal that will likely go before voters in 2014 and would earmark $800 million for education via collections on a tax on business revenue.

“We don’t know that that’s the right tax or revenue source,” said Pedro Martinez, Washoe County school district superintendent.

The state teachers’ union has endorsed the tax proposal, but superintendents declined an endorsement and instead said they’re happy legislators seem to have changed their tenor from cutting education spending to spending more on education.

Absent Dwight Jones, Clark County School District’s outgoing superintendent, the group generally called for more funding for education.

"We need to give people hope," said Bob Dolezal, White Pine County's superintendent, describing teachers who have taken pay cuts, accepted salary freezes and worked long hours as budgets have been cut. "They are fighting the good fight, but they are wearing out."

The Nevada Association of School Superintendents called for more funding to help English language learners and students in poverty, reduce class sizes, provide more early education opportunities, and institute teacher pay-for-performance plans.

"We can't talk about addressing ELL and students in poverty with existing dollars. We have to talk about additional dollars. An equitable distribution of inadequate dollars is still inadequate," Dolezal said.

While such proposals have the support of both Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval and the Democratic controlled Legislature, the superintendents declined to say whether they preferred the governor’s $135 million plan or the Democrats’ $310 million plan.

"I feel good that there is more than talk," Martinez said. "The governor proposing more money, that's a good first step."

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  1. Stop asking for more money until you can show us you can be responsible with what we have already given you!

    We could double the funding and I bet the graduation rate wouldn't go up by more than 10% (and I wouldn't be surprised by only 5%.)

  2. How do we know that more funding won't improve education,we've never tried it.

  3. Truth, talk to the Supreme Court about mandatory education,they have spoken. Secondly, people like you could care less about education; what you value is your money,which you want to hold on to with white knuckles until the day you die.

  4. What a surprise. More money. Let's deal with reality--we have about 100,000 illegal students in Nevada with most in CCSD. More than 50% of illegals are on one or more welfare programs--from this we can infer that illegals are NOT contributing enough to our economy to pay enough in taxes to cover all the services they want. And, without significant economic growth of ANY industry (world wide), there will never be enough tax revenue for all the wants of K-12. Therefore, let us explain to K-12 that they cannot have more money per pupil--they cannot even have as much per pupil as they've been getting. So forget class size reduction and get classes up to the 30-35 that was comfortable for all of us for GENERATIONS when K-12 WAS EFFECTIVE. And let teachers go back to the modestly paid career--instead of topping out at $96K-plus in CCSD. We just cannot afford to provide everything for everyone--we must put SOME tax funding into ESSENTIAL government services including mental health, senior services, long-range planning.

  5. The courts do NOT say that K-12 has to be public. We CAN offer vouchers for home schooling, charter schools, private schools where kids have a CHANCE at getting an education.

  6. ELL's do NOT need additional funding. I went to public K-12 (elsewhere) with many ELL's of various nationalities. They were LEGAL immigrants and were motivated to assimilate. Their parents learned English as the kids did in grade school. The ELL's did at least as well as the 2nd and 3rd generation Americans; frequently they did better. There was NO EXTRA ATTENTION. We did not reward any of the students for poor performance. They got a little attention when they performed.

  7. At what cost? We are in danger because we do NOT fund mental health crisis intervention let alone routine needs for mental health, life skills for career indigents, options for indigents aging out of child-welfare-mucho giveaways, prisons.... We spend too much on K-12, higher ed, courts, law enforcement BECAUSE we don't keep the Perps locked up. We let them out to re-offend and many of us become victims while more of us are threatened. Our streets are NOT SAFE BECAUSE WE OVER FUND K-12. Our economy, such as it is, will not support more taxes, more pulling money out of our economy to give away to unproductive and ineffective government programs yet we keep funding the INEFFECTIVE programs while ignoring ESSENTIAL services.

  8. Governor Quinn raised taxes substantially and dumped it all into education. We got a NEGATIVE ROI. Take back the over-funding from Quinn's "mandate."