We’ve talked a lot on this program about the weighted funding formula, which gives more funding to students with special needs.
And we’ve talked a lot about the Clark County School District’s reorganization plan – which allows schools to, essentially, govern themselves.
And we’ve talked about how the reorganization depends on the weighted funding being in place.
In fact, there is a lawsuit by CCSD alleging that they can’t go forward with reorganization without funding. That in asking them to do so, the Legislature is giving them an unfunded mandate, which is unconstitutional.
There's a bill in the legislature, SB178, that defines which student populations should get more money. That's the easy part. But it's sponsor, State Senator Mo Denis, says lawmakers are still trying to figure out how much money they can put behind the weights. He said lawmakers may have to provide funding in increments.
“I think that we can start now to implement a weight of some kind and increase that until we get to the number we need to get to,” he said.
Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky said Zoom and Victory schools, which were given extra money to fund specific programs for English language learners and children living in poverty, are a great start but there are thousands of kids that fall into those two categories alone who are not getting the extra funding they need.
He said even if the Legislature only provides a fraction of the millions of dollars it needs, and in the case of special needs students is required by law to provide, the district will take that fraction.
“It is essential that we take that baby step this session,” he said.
John Vellardita is the executive director of the Clark County Education Association. He agreed that Zoom and Victory schools show what can be done with focused funding and that raising the basic per pupil spending is also necessary, but he said a fix is needed now for weighted funding.
“But the political reality of our world today is you have 154,000 kids in Clark County School District that are not getting additional resources because they’re not in one of these categorical buildings. So how do you address that?” Vellardita said.
As for CCSD's reorganization plan, it is moving forward despite any lawsuit.
Skorkowsky said until a judge rules the district can stop the process it is moving forward.
Vellardita said there will be bumps on the road to fully implementing the reorganization, but the success of the plan, for him, will depend on student outcomes.
John Vellardita, Executive Director of the Clark County Education Association, the largest teachers’ union in Southern Nevada; Pat Skorkowsky, Superintendent of the Clark County School District; State Senator Mo Denis
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