State Senate Approves Overhaul Of School Funding Formula
The state Senate has approved the reworking of Nevada’s school funding structure.
The school funding formula was originally enacted when Lyndon Johnson was president and Nevada had about an eighth of its current population.
The 18-3 vote sends the measure to the Assembly for action with five days remaining in the legislative session. Senator Mo Denis described the vote as a historic moment, saying it would change peoples’ lives for generations.
The bill establishes a basic funding structure for the state’s K-12 students, combining current funding streams into one account to permit easier tracking and fund distribution.
It also includes special allocations for the state’s gifted and talented programs, students at or near the poverty level, or those just learning English, as well as creating a rainy day fund to stabilize year-to-year funding.
For the first two years, the revised structure would be phased in to replace the current funding system. The phase-in allows the state to make adjustments in the formula before the new plan is fully implemented in July 2021.
The biggest concern is how it will affect smaller rural school districts seeing flat or declining enrollment. The bill makes provisions for such districts to be protected from funding cuts, but amounts will be adjusted over time.