PARENTS SUE STATE OF NEVADA FOR UNCONSTITUTIONAL K-12 EDUCATION SYSTEM
Parents and education advocates hope Nevada finally steps up to provide all its students with the resources they need to be successful.
Las Vegas, NV – On Wednesday, March 4th parents and students made history by filing a complaint with Nevada’s First Judicial District Court to declare the current K-12 funding unconstitutional, as it fails to meet its obligation to provide sufficient resources for students to meet or exceed state standards and mandates.
Prior to the filing, Nevada was one of only three states in the country which had not faced a legal challenge to its K-12 education funding system.
“My children have struggled in school with overcrowded classrooms and outdated computers and equipment,” said Caryne Shea, a parent plaintiff in the case. “As an involved parent, I see how our lack of resources has led to dilution of quality programs and to parents having to fundraise for classes, librarians, tutoring, school psychologists, materials and other services that are critical to a well-rounded education for my children and so many others.”
Educate Nevada Now, The Rogers Foundation, along with pro bono partners Wolf, Rifkin, Shapiro, Schulman & Rabkin, and Holland and Hart are representing the parents in this case.
Nevada has among the highest classroom sizes in the nation and a severe teacher shortage that largely impacts low-income schools. Nevada’s education system fails to provide all students, and especially those with unique needs, with the resources they need to be successful.
“The State has mandated several studies that all confirm that the K-12 education system needs additional resources, yet funds meant for K-12 schools have been diverted to other areas of the State’s general budget,” said Amanda Morgan, Executive Director of Educate Nevada Now. “Even as legislators recently introduced a new K-12 funding formula, like the existing formula, it bears no relationship to the needs of students. Parents and education advocates have petitioned legislators for several years to no avail leaving no choice but to involve the third branch of government, the courts.”
Although the state has increased mandates and requirements on students, teachers, and districts, funding for essential resources for K-12 schools have remained nearly stagnant for the last ten years when accounting for inflation. Nevada ranks towards the bottom in funding, educational achievement, has received an “F” in national K-12 studies, and has supplanted more than $1.6 billion in funding meant to go to our K-12 schools.
“Efforts we’ve seen have either not resulted in additional resources or don’t support all students who need it. In many cases a student has to be lucky and attend a specific school with additional resources or have parents who can afford to devote time and resources to supplement their needs,” said Bradley Schrager, pro bono attorney with Wolf, Rifkin, Shapiro, Schulman & Rabkin. “A quality education is a fundamental right of every student. It’s time for Nevada to step up and sufficiently support all of its students.”
About Educate Nevada Now
The Rogers Foundation, a Nevada leader in support of public education, joined with local, state and national partners to launch Educate Nevada Now (ENN) in 2015. The organization is committed to school finance reform and improved educational opportunities and outcomes for all Nevada public school children, especially English language learners, gifted and talented students, students with disabilities or other special needs, and low-income students.
More information about ENN can be found atwww.educatenevadanow.com