LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Nevada Congresswoman Susie Lee was back in the classroom this week. She made a special stop at Silverado High School.
She talked about a topic on a lot of people’s minds this weekend: school funding.
The congresswoman sits on the Labor and Education Committee in Washington D.C. She explained what she’s doing at a federal level to get dollars into Nevada classrooms.
“I wrote on her website because I couldn’t find an exact email to get it to her,” high school senior Anastasia Hansberry said.
It started as just a class project, Hansberry asked Lee to visit her government class. She got her answer while sitting in class.
“I was surprised!” Hansberry said. “I didn’t expect her to actually come.”
The congresswoman spoke to the class about things like student debt and picking a major. But Hansberry was happy to hear Lee address another issue.
“We tend to be overstuffed,” she said. “Sometimes there will be classrooms where there’s not enough seats for students – they’re equipped for 40 students. But it’ll overflow.”
Lee said she knows class size is one of the biggest problems in Nevada schools. That’s why she said she’s pushing for a new study through the Rebuild America’s Schools Act.
“I was able to get a provision in there that actually allows for the study of the impact that overcrowding has on student achievement,” the congresswoman said.
Lee also introduced a federal bill, the Pact Act, to fund Title 1 schools for the next decade.
“Those funding sources are supposed to support our most at risk, low income students as well as students with disabilities,” she said.
While Lee was inside the classroom this week, more than a thousand teachers spent their weekend outside.
“We’re here because we can’t afford it anymore,” one teacher said at the downtown rally Saturday morning.
Teachers said it doesn’t matter where you go, the story is the same.
“The pay is too low, work demands are too high, classroom sizes are too large,” another teacher listed.
“For me to be in a building where my school doesn’t even have money for books, it’s disgraceful especially in America,” a school counselor said.
Those teachers said they are hoping state legislators will pass a bill to change the funding formula and another bill to increase teacher pay.
Lee said she’s listening and she has seen the problems in the classroom, so she is doing what she can at the federal level.
“I think that urgency is yesterday,” Rep. Lee said. “We need to continue focusing on whatever we can do to help moving the needle.”