Press Release: SB543 – Nevada’s Missed Opportunity to Transform K-12 Funding

Carson City, NV – Today, during the final hour of the 80thLegislative Session, the Nevada Legislature passed Senate Bill 543, a bill that failed to enact any real change and does nothing to solve the issue of supplanting K-12 revenue sources – the practice of keeping new revenue sources such as Marijuana Taxes and IP1 Room Taxes from actually increasing education dollars. The amendments make it clear that there is no intent from our legislature to even lay out a path towards adequate funding that Nevada students deserve.

Although legislative leaders stated they have been working on this bill for “several years,” the eleventh-hour release of the bill language and lack of input and communication clearly contributed to a bill that makes no commitment to improve student achievement.

“Removing the provision that required that the Governor supplement funds means that new revenue sources such as the IP1 Room Tax and Marijuana Tax dollars can continue to not increase funding for schools,” said Amanda Morgan, Legal Director for Educate Nevada Now, powered by The Rogers Foundation, “Additionally, we are completely ignoring the recommendations from the state’s own numerous studies, and instead are opting only to re-slice the same inadequate funding pie and forgoing any real future commitment to increased funding.”

ENN submitted various amendments to address the flaws of SB543. ENN’s amendments would have ensured no school district was punished for increased enrollment and stated the legislature’s intent to eventually move towards adequate funding, a commitment common in other states that have modernized their funding formulas.

“Ultimately, Nevada leadership refused to take the same bold steps we’ve seen other state’s take, such as adding funding targets or committing to phasing in new dollars over time. This bill was touted as a good first step, but there is nothing to guarantee Nevada continues to climb. Instead, we are resorting to the status quo. Our students truly deserved better.”