LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Two big initiatives could permanently fix Nevada’s long history of underfunding public education.
The Clark County Education Association filed another petition on Wednesday to raise the sales tax by 1.5%.
“I think this is historic in the sense that we are trying to elevate the discussion to find a final fix,” said John Vellardita, executive director of the Clark County Education Association.
The measure would help to bring in more than $1 billion for K-12 education.
“It’s time that we invest in our schools and our students,” said Kenny Belkanab, a teacher at Del Sol Academy. “We need to be able to give these students the one-on-one attention that they deserve.”
Teachers have voiced concern over overcrowded classrooms, chronic underfunding and overworked teachers.
“We started the school year almost 1,000 teachers short, and why is that? Because the working conditions are so challenging, and we can’t properly pay our educators to want to stay in challenging working conditions,” said Belkanab.
On Monday, the union filed a petition to increase the gaming tax rate by 3%, which would raise $350 million every year.
“They’ve made a lot of money. We think they should be good stewards, good corporate citizens and invest in our schools,” said Vellardita. “We believe this is going to help leaders step up to be leaders for our state.”
If both initiatives receive 100,000 signatures, they’ll go to the legislature in the 2021 session. If lawmakers don’t approve the new taxes, the measures would then go to a vote of the people in 2022.
“This is an attempt to put before the voters an opportunity to fund our state and programs with education being a high priority,” said Vellardita.