State Senate passes education budget, marking the largest in Nevada history

Published: May. 25, 2023 at 8:16 AM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - The Nevada Senate on Wednesday passed the largest education budget in state history, committing $12 billion to the cause. This represents a $2 billion increase over the last education budget or 29%.

“That takes us a long way from being at the bottom of the nation in terms of per-pupil funding and gets us a lot closer to where we need to be,” Clark County Education Association spokesperson Keenan Korth said.

“It’s good to see that they’re putting additional money into education,” National Education Association of Southern Nevada President Vicki Kreidel echoed. “And that is appreciated.”

Although Kreidel is also happy to see more funding, she does not quite share Korth’s optimistic appraisal of the situation.

“Some of that’s going to get eaten up in inflation,” she argued. “Some of that’s going to get eaten up in operating costs.”

Kreidel is worried the budget bump might not be enough to address one of the big issues with education in Nevada.

“Nevada is facing a crisis of teacher retention,” she said.

Kreidel says that the crisis is largely fueled by three things, one of which is inadequate teacher pay.

“I don’t get paid enough money as an educator to pay my student loans and live a comfortable life,” she said.

Another is teacher health care.

“It costs us a lot out of pocket,” she said about health care expenditures. “There’s a lot of treatment and medications we can’t get through our health insurance.”

Third, and perhaps most important, is safety.

“Schools right now are not safe,” she said. “They don’t feel safe and they’re not safe.”

Korth acknowledges there’s still more budgetary work to be done but says he’s happy with where the budget stands at the moment.

“Education funding doesn’t come quickly, doesn’t come often,” he said. “So we’re looking to make the most of this opportunity. But we’re always going to need more funding in education.”

The funding bill passed with a vote of 13-8, with all Senate Republicans voting against it. The bill now heads to the Assembly for a possible vote, and if it passes there, it goes to Governor Joe Lombardo’s desk. One of Lombardo’s top priorities upon taking office was increasing education funding by $2,000 per pupil, which this budget does.