LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — An extra $2 billion is one step closer to making its way into Nevada schools, providing a much-needed investment to teachers and children.
On Tuesday, state legislators voted in favor of the historic budget that Governor Joe Lombardo has championed.
Members of the Senate Committee on Finance and the Assembly Committee on Ways and Means made the approval to inject $2.3 billion into state education.
The new investment would increase statewide funding for English Learner programs from $85 million to $226 million; At Risk Pupils programs from $60 million to $163 million; And Special Education from $667 million to nearly $706 million.
“I just want to remind everybody our job is to fund education. Your unions and collective bargaining is what does the rest of it,” State Sen. Marilyn Dondero Loop, (D) Clark County – District 8, said in a joint meeting between the two committees. “We have put a 26% increase into the funding of education. A $2.3 billion piece, and so we have done our part.”
To approve other legislative priorities, the state is required by law to pass an education budget.
Gov. Lombardo said during his State of the State address earlier this year that it was his priority to increase school funding and it seems poised to happen.
Assemblywoman Danielle Monroe-Moreno said superintendents and districts need to put these new funds directly into the hands of teachers and kids.
“I would encourage them to look at that additional funding and put that money into the classrooms, into the resources our educators need, into their paychecks,” Monroe-Moreno, (D) Clark County – District 1, said.
The 26% increase in funding comes as Nevada ranks near the bottom of states when it comes to per-pupil funding. A survey last week ranked the Silver State 49th when it came to student performance.
The company Scholaroo conducted the survey, and it considered reading and math test scores; high school graduation and dropout rates; and ACT and SAT scores.
“I don’t disagree with any of this, but I do think we need some guardrails,” State Sen. Heidi Seevers Gansert, (R) Washoe County – District 15, said. “We need to make sure we’re not just talking about money. That we’re talking about outcomes and performance and making sure these programs work and lift our children up because, in the end, it’s about education.”
The new education budget will go before the Senate and Assembly for a vote, and if it passes it will go to the governor’s desk for a signature.