LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Nevada public schools are the most poorly funded in the country, according to a study released Tuesday by the Education Law Center.

The ELC’s 2022 Making the Grade report examines public school funding in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and grades each on three categories: funding level, funding distribution, and funding effort.

Nevada was the only state in the nation to receive an “F” in all categories, the study said.

The Silver State ranked 47th in per-pupil funding, 44th in “funding effort” from both state and local funding as a percentage of the state Gross Domestic Product and last in “funding distribution,” which is the percentage difference in per-pupil funding in high-poverty districts relative to low-poverty districts.

Nevada funds its students $4,370 less per pupil than the national average of $15,446, the study found, giving it a ranking of 47th in “funding level.”

The study also found that although Nevada had already been around the bottom of the rankings in previous studies, public school funding still decreased since 2008 after adjusting for inflation.

The study, which primarily focused on the fiscal impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on U.S. public schools, claimed that most states did not have a system ready that would help school districts properly respond to the pandemic.

“The pandemic exposed a stark reality to the nation: many schools, especially those in districts serving low-income communities, were not equipped to handle the task of continuing education in the midst of a public health crisis,” the study said.

The study also warned of potential challenges that school districts across the country could see as federal pandemic relief funding runs out, once again highlighting “chronic state underfunding.”

“Inequitable state finance systems that caused the essential resource deficits laid bare by the pandemic will again come into focus. The temporary balm provided by Covid relief does not erase the pre-pandemic disparities in school funding documented in this report,” the study said. “Students in districts segregated by poverty and race will continue to be deprived of the same opportunities for school success as their peers in more affluent communities.”

The Making the Grade report sourced the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of School System Finances and Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis’ State Gross Domestic Product reports from 2008 to 2020. For more information on methodology and to view the entire study, visit this link.

8 News Now has reached out to the Clark County School District and the Clark County Education Association for comment.

CCSD Superintendent and Nevada Association of School Superintendents President Dr. Jesus Jara issued the following statement on behalf of NASS:

Nevada’s superintendents remain unified in their continued advocacy for Nevada’s students as indicated in iNVest, and urge state leaders and legislators to optimally fund education for Nevada’s children. The Commission on School Funding, created through legislative action, identified the abysmal funding levels currently allocated for education across the state and once again declared it woefully inadequate.

Every measure by every organization, including the Education Law Center, reaches the same conclusion: Nevada funds education at the bottom of the 50 states, and the education budget is the lowest percentage of Nevada’s statewide budget in history. As Nevada’s leaders and families expect better academic outcomes for their children, funding must be optimal and in line with expectations. Breaking up districts or continuing to underpay educators are not strategies for success, and as a result, Nevada’s children bear the brunt of inadequate funding.

Statement on Nevada’s low public school funding levels from Dr. Jesus Jara on behalf of NASS