Nevada educators may file suit over funding | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada educators may file suit over funding

Associated Press

Educators say they may sue if state lawmakers reject a plan for $897 million in additional funding for Nevada’s elementary and secondary schools.

The “iNVest Plan” advanced by the state’s 17 county school superintendents will be considered when the 2003 Legislature convenes in February.

“We hope the Legislature will do the right thing,” said Clark County School District Superintendent Carlos Garcia. But he said the iNVest Plan’s prospects “aren’t looking that great right now, so anything’s possible.”

The new funding would be used for teacher raises, extended bilingual and kindergarten programs, more training days and other education initiatives.

“It’s an uphill battle, and we know that,” said Randall Robison, executive director of the Nevada Association of School Boards. “But that just means we’ll have to work that much harder to see it through.”

So-called “adequacy suits” have been filed by numerous groups over the past decade to protest unfair educational funding.

Ken Lange, executive director of the Nevada State Education Association, said his teachers’ group has been tracking such lawsuits, but for now is focused on getting the iNVest plan passed.

“It would be premature to discuss adequacy suits until we’ve exhausted all other possibilities,” Lange said. “However, if the funding doesn’t come together in this session, we’ll certainly be looking at a variety of options to ensure the job gets done.”

Assemblywoman Chris Giunchigliani, D-Las Vegas, said the fiscal straits facing the state don’t negate the need for better education funding.

“If we’re going to vote for a tax increase, we might as well do something that’s going to mean more than just maintaining the status quo,” said Giunchigliani.

“We should do education funding right once and for all, and stop dancing around the problems every time the Legislature goes back into session.”