LAS VEGAS – A new study giving Nevada an F on the way we fund education shows the need for legislators to pass additional money for a weighted funding formula, said education advocates, including parents, on a panel today.
The lack of funding for education in Nevada also points to a need to devote all available public funds to public education — not to divert tens of millions of dollars to private school vouchers, as some legislators have advocated, panelists said at the event hosted by Educate Nevada Now at the East Las Vegas Community Center.
Panelists spoke about the need for Nevada legislators to create and put additional money into a meaningful weighted funding formula that provides resources for students who cost more to educate, including special education students, English language learners, students who live in poverty, and gifted and talented students.
“We appreciate the funds Governor Sandoval and legislators have carved out in recent years for specific programs such as Zoom and Victory Schools. However, at-risk students have no additional support if they don’t happen to attend one of those schools,” said Amanda Morgan, legal director for Educate Nevada Now.
“A weighted funding formula would provide additional funds for all of the students who cost more to successfully educate,” she said.
The new study published by the Education Law Center, Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card, found that Nevada has the most regressive school funding formula in the nation, meaning the Silver State provides significantly less funding to its school districts that serve high-poverty students than other states do.
“Nevada urgently needs school funding reform to provide the qualified teachers, support staff and programs needed for students to meet state academic standards,” said David Sciarra, executive director of the Education Law Center and one of the authors of the study.
Caryne Shea, vice president of the HOPE for Nevada parents group, noted that education funding levels in Nevada still haven’t fully recovered from the dramatic cuts made to K-12 public education during the recent recession.
“If we don’t create a foundation for our children through education, then we can diversify the economy, and we can create new jobs, but we won’t have anybody to fill those jobs,” Shea said. “This is our state, and if we don’t invest in our most important resource, which is our children, everything else legislators invest in during the session will not make a difference.”
The panel was moderated by Beverly Rogers, Chairman of the Board of The Rogers Foundation.
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 at www.educatenevadanow.com