Committee approves bill to revamp board of education | NevadaAppeal.com

Committee approves bill to revamp board of education

Nevada’s governor would get a lot more power over the Superintendent and the Board of Education under SB540, which won Senate Finance Committee approval Tuesday.

Sen. Barbara Cegavske, R-Las Vegas, said the board has been so dysfunctional for more than a decade that lawmakers have worked with the governor to create the Legislative Committee on Education and other panels that set testing and academic standards and manage large segments of education’s funding.

“We’ve circumvented them, gone around them,” she said.

Cegavske said the problem has been there since Bob Miller was governor because, “There’s no connection with the Department of Education and State Board to the governor’s office,” she said.

Miller, his successor Kenny Guinn and Gibbons have all had problems with the board’s independence from their policies and programs as has the Legislature. There have been repeated complaints that the board was flying in the face of the administrations and legislatures which approve its budgets and implement its programs.

The problem stems from the fact the governor has no control over the board, which is elected, and no control over the superintendent, who is selected by the board.

Cegavske said SB540 fixes that, having the governor appoint the state Superintendent of Public Instruction from a list of names submitted by a search committee. In addition, the governor would select the president of the board, although it would remain an elected body.

Cegavske said the current situation isn’t acceptable.

“We have to get education in this state under control,” she said.

She said only eight states have an elected state board which appoints the superintendent independent of the governor or legislative control, and that six of them have found it necessary to create other outside committees and advisory panels to implement some control over those boards.

The bill will go to the floor of the Senate for a vote and then to the Assembly.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.