Gov. Jim Gibbons Proposes Sweeping Changes to Nevada Education - 8 News NOW

Reporter Jonathan Martinez

Gov. Jim Gibbons Proposes Sweeping Changes to Nevada Education

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Governor Jim Gibbons (Nevada-R) is proposing an overhaul of Nevada's education system. Some of the proposals include: 

-Eliminating laws dealing with collective bargaining between local government and school districts.

-Eliminating laws mandating class sizes and full-day kindergarten

-Creating empowerment school districts

-Eliminating the State Board of Education and replacing it with a 5-member advisory board. The governor would appoint three of the board's members.

The governor says the plan would save money and give more power to school districts and parents. The proposal drew mixed reactions. "What's bound to happen is children's education will suffer," said Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley (Clark County-D). "When you look in the proposals, what are the exact details? There are cuts!"

But, the conservative think-tank Nevada Policy Research Institute praises the plan. "What this proposal suggests is a governor who truly understands Nevada's education problems," said NPRI Vice President of Operations and Communications Andy Matthews. "If you really want to improve education in the state, there are a lot of good ideas in here." He believes throwing more money at education is not the answer.

But Buckley says cutting spending does not help either. "We're supposed to be an education-first state, and that doesn't mean you cut education funding first," she said. "That means you do everything you can to preserve it."

State Senator Joyce Woodhouse (Clark County-D) admits the state is facing a tough economic crisis and budget shortfall, but feels there are better solutions than the one proposed by the governor. "Constitutionally, we do have to balance the state's budget," she said. "(But), it's really important that we look for other places where cuts can be made." The governor's proposal requires passage by the Nevada Legislature.  The Legislature meets again in 2011. But, the governor can call a special session before then.

 Read Clark County School District Superintendent Walt Rulffes' Reaction to the Governor's Plan

Read the Nevada State Education Association's Reaction to the Governor's Plan

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