Nevada has one of the most underfunded,regressive, and oldest school funding formulas in the country. The state’s funding formula, the Nevada Plan, has remained largely the same since its creation in 1967. Unlike modern funding formulas across the country, the formula bears no relationship to the actual cost of educating students. It ignores the changing standards and expectation of our students, the increasing state and federal mandates placed on our schools and districts, our diversifying economy, and the seismic changes in our demographics. Instead, the Nevada Plan uses “historical expenditures” to determine funding levels. This means that as costs, mandates, and expectations increase, the formula assumes what was spent before will be enough. Given the Nevada of 1967 is not the Nevada of today, it is easy to see how public school funding has deteriorated over time.
Though lawmakers have taken incremental steps to address the needs of some low-income, English language learner, and low achieving students, Nevada continues to rank 48th in funding, and 51st in Education.
Perhaps most troubling, new revenue sources dedicated to public education have not actually increased funds to public schools. Revenue many voters believed would increase funding to public schools, such as 2009’s room tax initiative and 2016 wholesale marijuana tax initiative, instead supplanted other revenue. In other words, as the new revenue when into the public school funding account, other sources of revenue to that account decreased. It is like pouring water in a bucket with holes at the bottom.
What do schools need?
Studies commissioned by the Legislatures acknowledge that the funds made available to the state’s public schools are simply is not enough. Without a major overhaul of Nevada’s school funding mechanism and a serious commitment to increasing the resources available, the trend of poor performance in Nevada public schools will continue.
These studies have recognized that the per pupil funding provided to each student is wholly inadequate to ensure all students have the opportunity to succeed. Further, they recommend the state provide special education, English language learner, and low-income students additional resources in the form of “weights” to ensure these students, who often require more resources and services to succeed, have the same opportunities as their peers. Weights are multipliers on per pupil funding that guarantee additional dollars for special student populations.
Educate Nevada Now is committed to ensuring all students – North, South, urban, and rural – have the opportunity to succeed in school, including those who require additional resources to reach their potential, such as English language Learners, special education students, and students living in poverty. ENN will continue efforts to educate the community and legislators about the funding crisis in our state, and will take action to ensure Nevada’s school funding system meets the needs of all children.
School Finance Reform Goals:
- Increase the level of funding for Nevada public schools and ensure that taxpayers are seeing a return on investment
- Ensure that all teachers and children are supported so that they can reach their learning goals.
- Don’t leave vulnerable children behind, and work towards school finance that fully funds the instructional needs of children who are special education, Gifted and Talented, and at-risk and English Language Learner students
- Collaborate in developing a funding formula, that fully funds public education
Image Title Summary Document Link Document_Categories document_category_hfilter School Funding Reform – 2017 Legislative Session Explaining how Nevada can move, in a responsible way, to expanding educational opportunities for those most in need while moving towards a weighted funding formula. Other Resource other