Nevada school superintendents want the state to prioritize education funding

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FILE: $100 bills. (NEXSTAR)

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Restore the cuts! That’s pretty much the sentiment from the Nevada Association of School Superintendents (NASS). With strong mitigation measures in place, Nevada is experiencing early signs of an economic recovery NASS would like the Legislature to prioritize restoring all of the cuts made since the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We need as many trained and caring adults around our students as possible to address the social and emotional needs of our students so we can return the focus to academic progress,” said Dr. Kristen McNeill, superintendent of the Washoe County School District.

The request is being made in anticipation of the Nevada Economic Forum’s meeting that will be held on May 4. The cuts NASS would like restored include the nearly $160 million cut to the Class Size Reduction program and the more than $33 million cut to the Read By Grade Three program included in the Governor’s Recommended budget.  

“We understand the Governor had to make some difficult choices in building a budget that reflected the economic realities of the time, but now that additional funds have become available, any and all dollars should be used to restore these cuts to teaching positions and early literacy supports,” said Russell Fecht, superintendent of Pershing County School District and president of the Nevada Association of Superintendents. 

“It is our hope that any additional dollars identified by the Economic Forum or the federal government help restore budget cuts made over the last year. While the federal dollars allocated directly to schools will be a great help in addressing unexpected COVID-19 related expenses, it is essential the Legislature fully fund ongoing state priorities such as Class Size Reduction and Read by Grade Three, which helps protect Nevada’s youngest students,” said Dr. Jesus F. Jara, superintendent of the Clark County School District.  

Class Size Reduction funds are used exclusively to pay teachers in order to keep class sizes small in grades K-3 and improve the individualized attention provided to our students. Reducing this funding by 50 percent will result in half as many teachers and increased class sizes, which is why NASS is asking legislative leaders to restore these cuts.  

NASS stands ready to assist the Legislature with any fiscal impact or analysis that may help build the strongest K-12 budget for our nearly half a million public school students.

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