Education commission awards $87 million to school programs |

Education commission awards $87 million to school programs

Working in teams for four days straight, the Governor’s Commission on Educational Excellence on Friday voted to award a total of $86.8 million to 464 Nevada schools and the state’s 17 school districts.

That leaves the commission about $5 million to award later this year from the $91.9 million pot recommended by Gov. Kenny Guinn and approved by the 2005 Legislature.

A detailed list of which schools and districts received grants will be available late next week.

The money was appropriated to give schools a chance to propose innovative reading, math and other programs that will improve the education of Nevada children. Lawmakers mandated that at least $22 million of the total grants go to fund full-day kindergarten programs, which education professionals say could do wonders for achievement by elementary school students.

Elementary programs will receive $75.6 million of the total awarded. Secondary school programs will get $11.3 million.

George Ann Rice, chairwoman of the commission, said a total of nearly $150 million was requested by schools and districts in a total of 560 applications. She said the commission, joined by some 30 education professionals including principals of schools with track records of achievement divided into nine teams to review the applications.

“We didn’t say, ‘Oh, you asked for too much’ and reduce it,” she said. “We looked at the program.”

She said the teams made their recommendations and added them up at the end instead of cutting to fit within the budget and that the process seems to have worked very well.

Superintendent of Education Keith Rheault said the majority of the applications were reduced somewhat but that only 60 were denied outright. He said those with reduced grants will have a week or so to submit revised budgets but that he hopes to put the checks in the mail to all the recipients before the end of the month.

— Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.