Task force pushes for new school funding formula - 8 News NOW

Task force pushes for new school funding formula

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LAS VEGAS -- The Nevada Task Force on K-12 Public Education voted Monday to recommend changing the funding formula for Nevada public schools.

The recommendations ask the state to revise Nevada's current funding formula and allocate more money to ELL students, special needs students, and students who live in poverty.

According to the Nevada Department of Public Education, more than 166,000 students in Clark County are on the Free and Reduced Lunch Program. Around 51,000 students speak English as a second language and 33,000 are classified as special needs students.

"This puts pressure on the legislature and God knows the legislature needs pressure put on it from time to time," Nevada state Senator Michael Roberson said.

Roberson is part of the task force comprised of lawmakers and education leaders.

Caryne Shea has two children in Clark County elementary schools. She was at Monday's meeting and says while the task force recommendations are well intentioned, the legislature also needs to hear from families.

"We are voters, we are taxpayers," she said.

Shea and some other mothers recently launched a website called HOPE, or Honoring Our Public Education. The website is meant to serve as an online community for parents to get information on school funding and how they can be advocates for their children.

"Our voice is lacking and it's the most important one," Shea said.

"We are not passing a law today, we are submitting recommendations," Roberson said.

And because of that, parents like Shea say the biggest battle is yet to come.

According to Education Week, Nevada ranks 48th in the country in per pupil funding.  The task force recommendations will be submitted to the Nevada Legislature at its next session starting in 2015. Currently the spending per pupil in Clark County is $5,400 per year. The national average is around $11,000.

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