Carson school board backs document outlining funding need

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The Carson City School District has provided its full support on a shortened document called “iNVest” that the Nevada Association of School Superintendents seeks to provide to the Nevada Legislature in the 2023 session to rally support for funding the state’s K-12 educational system.

The document, an acronym for “Investing in Nevada’s Education, Students and Teachers,” has been published each legislative year since 2003, Superintendent Andrew Feuling told the board at its Dec. 13 meeting and generally has come out in a packet between four to six pages long seeking to explain the necessity of funding educational initiatives equitably for Nevada’s K-12 public school students. But this has appeared to overwhelm legislators who already take on a plethora of responsibility during the session.

So NASS has sought to whittle down the publication’s contents to a single page, front and back, with a history about what has been accomplished through iNVest, Feuling said, and since the Pupil Centered Funding Plan (PCFP) has been implemented through Senate Bill 543 in 2019.

“You’ve heard about (the history of funding) over the last year and the impacts of funding,” Feuling told the board. “You have a high-understanding of what’s going on. Many of our legislators are brand new, so they can ask questions.”

Feuling is a member of the Commission on School Funding and described NASS’ key objectives through the document. NASS summarizes Nevada’s needs for successful academic outcomes in its documents by addressing in bullet points outcomes that would be addressed or passed through legislation:

Increases for per-pupil funding at a level of at least $270.8 million in new funding for fiscal year 2024 aligned to 10-year incremental target values for optimal funding as identified by the CSF.

Weights assigned in the PCFP so all students receive appropriate and equitable levels of support despite their zip code or circumstance.

Modernized educational statutes allowing for innovation that might include competency-based education, Work-Based Learning, Career and Technical Education, dual enrollment and JumpStart programs or other academic programs.

Funding allowing schools to be technology-rich and in line with modern workplace expectations.

Investments in school safety measures emphasizing mental health issues, including bringing in school counselors or health workers to assist students at every level.

Ensuring more secure learning environments through implementing funding mechanisms dedicated to school facilities, with allowing school districts to build new schools to keep pace with growth and help decrease class sizes.

Feuling said capital funding in particular impacts rural schools, noting White Pine School District, for example, has two schools that are more than 100 years old. Carson City’s own Bordewich Bray Elementary School is nearing 100.

“Even if Carson City doesn’t need to ever build another school, we have a lot of maintenance,” he said. “We have over a million square feet of space, and a lot of our buildings are older. The youngest school we have was built in 1992, and that’s Fremont and Mark Twain (elementary schools) and the largest expansion happened in 1992 as well.”

Feuling said as he summed up his presentation he had already begun receiving word from other district superintendents that their boards had begun approving the document.

Trustee Mike Walker said he agreed in backing it.

“I think we would be foolish not to support this,” he said. “I think it’s a great idea, they’re trying to align not only school boards and superintendents but they’ve sent it to NASB (Nevada Association of School Boards). … We have to work on our pipeline. We have to compensate people for their time and effort.”

NASB released a statement Dec. 22 announcing its support for the iNVest platform, with President Nicole Bengochea stating, “At our Nov. 10, 2022, joint meeting, NASB discussed and approved the 2023 iNVest document. NASB remains unified in our continued support of this document because we all recognize the critical needs that will help improve our children’s success.”

The board approved the document 7-0.


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