A new education poll is out, and it turns out a majority of voters are not happy with Nevada legislators for their work on education. BUT, those same voters also like the school reorganization that the legislature put in place and think things are headed in the right direction.
Is this a contradiction?
“I think it might be in part that the community... does not necessarily know some of the efforts that were made to improve education in the state, particularly public education,” said John Vellardita, the executive director of the Clark County Education Association.
Vellardita said the most significant change was the boost in taxes to pay for school improvements.
However, another vital part of education changes put in place by the Legislature remains unfunded, according to Vellardita, and that was the reorganization of the Clark County School District. The bill that decentralized CCSD and called for an improved funding formula.
Vellardita said the funding formula, which determines how much public funding each student gets, is 50 years old and doesn't take into account many current problems.
For example, a student who needs special education classes or is an English language learner or in the gifted and talented program will get extra funding to meet his or her needs.
“In order for this new delivery system to be effective, you have to have adequate funding following these students into the classroom and that’s what the weighed funding formula does,” he said.
Nevada Leads, a political action committee, conducted the survey of Clark County voters. To qualify, voters had to have voted in at least two of the last four general elections.
Vellardita said most people surveyed liked the idea of decentralizing CCSD, but he said what the voters really want to see is all sides working together on solutions.
“They want to see both parties and the governor work together to try to have accomplishments,” he said.
He said education shouldn't be a political football in the upcoming session of the State Legislature.
Vellardita believes lawmakers will listen to what voters said in the survey. He believes the real question is whether they'll act on it.
John Vellardita, executive director, Clark County Education Association