The ‘Bucket List:’ Education funding formula needs change says group
When it comes to funding K-12 education, Nevada has its own type of bucket list.
That’s according to an organization that made a presentation at the Carson City School District’s Strategic Plan meeting held at the Carson High library on Wednesday night.
Instead of the community meeting being focused on its mission of providing a direction it wants to see Carson City schools head, Wednesday’s meeting focused on school funding heading into the 2019 Legislative session.
Members from Fund Our Future Nevada which is focused on the funding the Legislature in 2019 will provide K-12 education gave a presentation at the meeting.
They provided an analogy in which Nevada’s K-12 education funding formula is like patching a bunch of holes on a bucket, but with water still coming out.
According to data presented by the group, Nevada’s education ranking in the nation is dead last while its education funding ranks 48th.
Other data presented state the state has the largest class sizes in the U.S. and spending per student in Nevada is $4,000 less than the national average.
Teachers in the state are also the third worst paid in the nation, according the data presented.
Amanda Morgan of Fund our Future Nevada said increased funding is needed and that the funding isn’t available is a myth.
“There’s just no money,” said Morgan about the prevailing belief. “That’s true in Mississippi. That’s not true in Nevada.”
Data also presented state education funding in the state has basically remained flat since 2009.
Morgan said there’s the belief schools receive increased funding from such areas as the marijuana and commerce taxes. But the Legislature then takes other revenues that could go to education to plug holes in other areas of the budget.
The organization did note in its presentation the Legislature did provide increased funding in some areas including ZOOM schools for English Language Learners (ELL) ($142 million), Victory Schools for low income students ($80), the Read By 3 program ($44.5 million) and full day kindergarten ($170).
The organization also noted increased funding should come with accountability and transparency.
But the organization also noted along with ELL students, the state faces many challenges such as half of its students being on free and reduced lunches.
Another big problem is special education in which districts have to use their general budgets to fund.
And another big problem, the organization noted, is Nevada hasn’t changed its education funding formula since 1967.
The group also noted the better educated a state is, the less it spends on social programs. Health care costs and those on welfare decrease considerably as examples when a state is better educated.
The organization also stated it costs $32,000 a year to incarcerate a prisoner while a student’s education costs $11,000 a year.
The organization stated for every dollar spent on education, home values increase by $20. And the organization also stated Nevada’s lack of funding for education could chase businesses away.
For information on the organization, visit http://www.fundourfuturenv.com.