Nevada gets failing grade for public school funding
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - A new national report card on public school funding gives Nevada a failing grade, ranking the state the worst in the nation. The report looked at public school funding across the nation during the 2019-20 school year when the Covid-19 pandemic caused massive disruption in education.
Nevada is the only state to get F’s across the board. States were graded in 3 categories: funding level, funding distribution, and funding effort. Twenty-seven other states received an F in one or two categories.
John Vellardita, Executive Director of Clark County Education Association, Nevada’s largest teacher’s union, says the report comes as no surprise.
“I think it states the obvious. I think the most significant report that has been issued related to Nevada’s public education system is the one issued by the Commission on School Funding and that report was issued in November. That report proposes a 10-year plan to invest over $200 million each year in our K-12 system to get us to the national average of per pupil funding,” Vellardita explained.
Not only does Nevada rank in the bottom five for funding per pupil, but Nevada’s funding distribution was also deemed the worst in the nation. The report found students in districts where poverty was low averaged $12,898 in funding per student, while in high-poverty districts the average dropped to just $9,382 a student.
The report from the Education Law Center found when the Covid-19 pandemic began, it exposed funding inadequacies and inequities, especially in low-income communities. Many schools were not equipped to educate students during a public health crisis lacking technology and access to support staff.
“We have a teacher shortage here on a scale I would describe as a crisis.
In Southern Nevada, we have close to 30,000 kids that started the school year and will end the school year and they won’t have a full-time licensed professional, they will have either a substitute or some kind of makeshift classroom for them to learn. That is not the appropriate classroom setting for a student to learn,” Vellardita added.
CCEA says they will be pushing for that additional $200 million in funding when the legislative session opens in February. They say there is a projected state budget surplus of over a billion dollars and some of that money should go to schools.
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