Highlights of Guinn’s proposed $4.89 billion two-year state budget | NevadaAppeal.com

Highlights of Guinn’s proposed $4.89 billion two-year state budget

Associated Press

Highlights of the $2.64 billion proposed for education in Gov. Kenny Guinn’s proposed two-year budget:

— Spending up: Guinn’s $2.64 billion budget for education, from elementary school to university levels, is up 33 percent over the current budget. It would account for 55 percent of all general fund spending, up from the current 52 percent of the total.

–PUBLIC SCHOOLS: The governor’s budget allocates $1.72 billion, or about 36 percent of all state funds, for elementary and secondary schools.

–PER-PUPIL DOLLARS: The budget provides for $4,291 in basic per-pupil support from the state Distributive School Account in the coming two years. That’s up from a current level of $3,987.

–CLASSROOM SUPPLIES: Guinn’s budget includes $38 million in new money for purchase of new textbooks and classroom supplies.

–ALL-DAY KINDERGARTEN: The budget asks for $24 million to implement a full-day kindergarten program at about 410 “at-risk” state schools. The program eventually would be expanded to all schools.

–SPECIAL-NEEDS TEACHERS: The governor proposes spending $33 million to provide pay incentives to attract and keep needed educational specialists. This would include yearly $3,000 stipends to teachers who specialize in math, special education, or other needed disciplines.

–SIGNING BONUSES: Proposed $2,000 new teacher signing bonuses would take up $10 million of the public school budget.

–CLASS-SIZE REDUCTION: Guinn wants the Legislature to expand an Elko County program giving local school districts more flexibility in determining class sizes. He sought the same change two years ago, but included no money in the budget for any such shift.

–HIGHER EDUCATION: The proposed budget allocates $891 million, or 18 percent of funds, for Nevada’s university and community college system. The new budget would inject an additional $80 million into the system by increasing the level of funding, as determined by a complex formula, to 86 percent from the current 79 percent.

–UNIVERSITY PROJECTS: The governor’s proposed building projects list includes $60 million for a new science and engineering complex at UNLV. Also proposed is a $20 million health sciences building at the Community College of Southern Nevada.

–HENDERSON STATE COLLEGE: The proposed budget would include $7.85 million — half the amount requested by the university system — for a newly-opened state college in booming Henderson. Classes started in September and the campus has attracted far fewer students than expected.

Medicaid, mental health funding boosted

Highlights of the $1.36 billion proposed for human services in Gov. Kenny Guinn’s proposed budget:

–TOTAL SPENDING: Guinn would allocate $1.36 billion, or 28 percent of all state funds, for human resources. The proposed spending over the next two years is up 35 percent compared with the current budget.

–MEDICAID: The number of Medicaid recipients in the state is expected to rise to over 200,000 by 2005. Guinn’s budget would allocate funds to serve them and an additional $7 million to expand Medicaid eligibility.

–MENTAL HEALTH: The budget includes $32 million for a new 150-bed psychiatric hospital in Las Vegas. Guinn wants to spend $600,000 on the expansion of a pilot mental health court in Washoe County. He’d provide another $600,000 to serve mentally ill patients in emergency rooms.

–SENIOR RX: The governor’s budget would provide $5 million to expand eligibility for the Senior Rx program, which provides low-cost prescription drugs to the elderly. About 12,000 seniors would be eligible by 2005 under the expansion.

–NEVADA CHECK-UP: Guinn wants to spend $5.8 million over the next two years to increase the number of children served by the Nevada Check-Up program.

Public safety highlights in gov’s budget

Highlights of the $453.7 million in general fund spending for public safety programs in Gov. Kenny Guinn’s 2003-2005 budget proposal.

–TRANSITIONAL FACILITY: The Department of Corrections will open a transitional facility at Casa Grande, in southern Nevada, for 200 inmates close to parole in October 2003. The population of the facility will increase by 236 inmates a year later.

–STAFF CUTS: Although the Department of Corrections is expecting an increase in inmate populations over the next two years, the department is cutting staff by 105 people, including 90 security staff and 73 correctional officers. The Division of Parole and Probation will reduce staff by 18 positions.

–DRUG COURTS: The governor recommends $1.1 million in funding to continue the Drug Court Program in the 2nd and 8th Judicial Districts.

–NEVADA DEPARTMENT OF INVESTIGATIONS: Guinn proposes eliminating the Nevada Division of Investigations, discontinuing state criminal investigations in major population centers and cutting 21 positions. Local agencies would assume the responsibilities.

–NARCOTICS TASK FORCE: The governor proposes eliminating the Narcotics Task Force and eliminating 18 positions.

–FIRE MARSHAL: About $2.9 million in general fund resources would go to the state Fire Marshal’s Office to help handle services mandated by state legislators.