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19 Jun 2019 legislative session creates positive, historic gains for public schools

The 2019 legislative session produced substantive, historic gains for public education. CCSD received a significant increase in funding from Gov. Steve Sisolak and legislative leaders in the 2019 legislative session.

SB551 removes the scheduled reduction in the Modified Business Tax (payroll) over the upcoming biennium and appropriates that expected revenue toward school districts for school safety, plus a block grant for staff raises at school districts.

Providing a raise to employees is a top priority for CCSD. With the passage of SB551 and other funding bills, there is funding available to provide an average 2 percent seniority increase and a 3 percent cost of living increase for all employees for the 2019-2020 school year. However, some operating costs have also increased, meaning CCSD will need to need to reduce costs by about $17 million per year over the biennium. For more information on this and a timeline of the budget reductions, please click here.

Elsewhere, the revised version of SB543, the modernized education Funding Formula, passed at the last minute and updated the education funding formula for the first time in more than 50 years. This is historic legislation that will provide more transparency, protect education funding, establish weights for students who need more resources, and protect districts’ ending fund balances.

The revised version of the bill diverted some of the responsibility of implementing the funding formula to the Nevada Department of Education (NDE), and ensures the Commission on School Funding helps guide the implementation. SB543 now says funds should remain in education and not be removed “to the extent practicable” and allows the governor to determine if funding needs to be adjusted. The governor has said on the record that he would only divert funds in a fiscal emergency. SB543 will now make its way to the Governor’s desk where it is expected that he will sign the bill.

CCSD expresses support to the Governor, Speaker Jason Frierson, and Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro for their leadership efforts to see this through until the end. In addition to the above, money was increased for school safety, Read by Grade 3, and SB178. See below for how we fared on the priorities set by the CCSD Board of Trustees and the latest update on our top 50 bills.

CCSD 2019 Legislative Priorities

(Bills in black font were passed. Bills in grey font were not)

Bill Draft Requests

  • SB80 (BDR 502) Handle with Care. Requires law enforcement to report to schools when a child goes through certain traumatic events.
  • SB26 (BDR 398) Ending Fund Balance. Revises provisions governing school financial administration (although the school district’s ending fund balance is now protected in SB543)

 

Priority Education Issues

  •  Modernizing the K12 Funding Formula (SB543)
  •  Preserve our Ending Fund Balance (SB543)
  •  Increasing funding for School Safety (SB89, SB551, SB528)
  •  Incentives for Title I Teachers (AB196)
  •  Additional Resources for Read by Grade 3 (AB289)
  •  Preserving an Elected School Board (Failure of AB491, AB57, SB105)
  •  Continuation of Early Childhood Education (SB84, SB555)
  •  Separate Revenue Stream to Support Vegas PBS (SB501)
  • Expansion of Career and Technical (CTE) Programs
  • Maintenance Fund for School Buildings

 

Status of Top 50 Education Bills

AB35 Achievement School District (ASD) – Failed. Would have written into the law the process the ASD would have undertaken if it were converting schools into charter schools.

AB57/SB105 Appointed School Boards – Failed. In Clark and Washoe County, it would have removed election districts and have three trustees elected at-large, with the remaining trustees appointed by the county and the three biggest cities in the county.

AB67 Achievement School District – Failed. Would have created designation of A+ achievement charter school, which an independent administrator would be appointed to oversee.

AB72 Turnaround Schools – Failed. Would have made it harder to remove a principal at a designated turnaround school.

AB78 Removes Achievement School District – Signed. Would have revised provisions governing the operations of the State Public Charter School Authority and abolishing the Achievement School District.

AB88 Average Daily Enrollments – Signed. Allows schools to project enrollment for an upcoming semester instead of based on the previous semester enrollment.

AB136 Prevailing wages – Signed. Requires school districts to pay 100 percent of prevailing wage for public works instead of 90 percent.

AB168 Student Behavior Support – Enrolled. Gives principals the discretion on whether to expel a student in certain situations; aims to provide earlier interventions for student behavior problems.

AB180 Foster Child School of Origin – Failed. Would have required school districts to transport all students in foster care to their home school of origin.

AB199 Apprenticeship Courses and Instructors – Failed. Would have authorized school districts to collaborate with labor unions or trade associations in developing training and instruction for teachers in Career and Technical Education.

AB205 Integrated Pest Management Plan – Signed. Requires school districts to establish and maintain integrated pest management and appoint a coordinator to implement the plan.

AB218 Education Savings Accounts (ESA) – Failed. Funding for ESAs, which are basically vouchers that can be used for private schools.  These dollars are now no longer in the state budget.

AB219 English Language Learner (ELL) Corrective Plan of Action – Enrolled. Requires more reporting in regards to ELL students as well as stronger support for state testing. Principals of middle schools and high schools considered underperforming for ELL students must come up with corrective action plans for the school.  For the high school level, they must notify parents of better performing nearby schools the student can transfer to if there is adequate capacity.

AB258 Due Process Hearings – Signed. Provides the enforcement of the decision of a hearing officer or a settlement agreement resulting from a due process hearing relating to special education students.

AB261 Training for Safety of Children – Signed. Requires school districts to submit reports to the Department of Education on training for staff on the personal safety of children and incidents of abuse (e.g. sexual, etc.) of a child.

AB277 Mandatory Raises/Collective Bargaining – Failed. Would have required schools districts to set aside funds for a 3 percent raise each year for licensed teachers and classified employees.

AB281 Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Holds – Failed. The bill would have prohibited school police from detaining a person on the basis of a hold request related to immigration enforcement unless there was an independent finding of probable cause.

AB295 Comprehensive Sex Ed – Failed. Would have required a course of evidence-based, factual instruction on sexuality education that would have been opt-out.

AB304: Class Size Reporting – Signed. Requires a plan of action for reducing class sizes when school districts make a variance request from the recommended ratios of the State Board of Education. It also requires school districts to annually post the class size ratios approved in each class.

AB309 County Sales Tax/Block Grant for Education – Enrolled. Allows counties to raise sales taxes by a quarter of one percent that may go into education, and allows school districts to receive block grants that can be used for certain categorical programs or for operations of the school district.

AP340 Opioid Antagonists – Failed. Would have required school districts to establish policies regarding the storage and administration of Narcan that can help reverse an opioid overdose.

AB462 Charter School Growth Management Plan – Signed. Requires the State Public Charter School Authority (SPCSA) to establish a five year growth management plan and also requires the SPCSA to communicate and collaborate with school districts when choosing a new charter school site.

SB41 Teacher Licensing – Signed. Revises various provisions relating to teacher licensure, such as eliminating the special qualifications license, revising requirements for early childhood licensure, revising various changes for a qualified providers, requiring notice when a license is due to expire for certain personnel, and more.

SB57 School Blueprints – Signed. Makes school blueprints confidential and authorizes their disclosure in certain circumstances such as by request of a public safety agency.

SB79 Chronic Absenteeism – Failed. State would have adopted a policy for chronic absenteeism that school districts would have to follow.

SB84 Pre-K Grant – Enrolled. Establishes a program to award grants to school districts, charter school sponsors, and nonprofit organizations to support pre-kindergarten programs. This was previously funded via a federal grant but the lapse between the end of the grant and the reapplication for the federal money meant the state has to supply the funds but it may not be enough to fill every seat.

SB109 Cameras in Special Education Classrooms – Failed. Required public schools to stall cameras in special education classrooms.

SB111 Ending Fund Balance/Two Percent Rollups – Enrolled. Lowers ending fund balances of local municipalities from 25 to 16.67 percent of unrestricted funds. For school districts, it requires them to provide roll-ups allocated by the state to employees, even if there is not sufficient funds to cover other expenses or build an adequate ending fund balance.

SB126 Requiring school Administrators to Re-Apply for Jobs – Signed. Eliminates the requirement that school administrators reapply for their position every five years.

SB153 Evergreen Clause – Signed. Allows collective bargaining agreements to continue beyond their expiration date until a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.

SB185 School Volunteer Backgrounds – Signed. Clarifies requirements for parents and members of the community to volunteer at school by making it easier to use a corresponding employment background as well as define which volunteers have “unsupervised contact” with students and therefore need to be fingerprinted.

SB191 School Librarians – Failed. Requiring each public school to establish and maintain a school library and employ a teacher librarian.

SB193 We the People – Enrolled. Appropriates funding for We the People: The Citizen and The Constitution Program.

SB204 Suicide Prevention Training and Classes – Signed. Requires middle and high schools to adopt a policy for prevention of suicide such as requiring training for teachers and pupils.

SB245 Sovereign Immunity – Enrolled. Raises damages cap in tort cases against local governments to $150,000 and $200,000 in 2020 and 2022, respectively.

SB267 Policy for Social and Emotional Factors – Signed. Requires the State Board to adopt regulations requiring the board of trustees of each school district to identify all the social and environmental factors that affect the educational experiences of students.

SB287 Public Records Revision – Enrolled. Increases penalties for government entities that willfully fail to comply with a public records request. Provides more causes of action for a requester if they believe the government is unreasonably delaying the response or if the fee is excessive or improper.

SB295 National Guard Youth Challenge – Signed. Creates the Nevada National Guard Youth Challenge Program administered by the Office of the Military which will educate, train, and mentor youth who have dropped out or at risk of dropping out of high school. This is done through an agreement with school districts to establish challenge schools.

SB314 Financial Literacy – Signed. Requires the Commission on Professional Standards in Education to establish requirements for obtaining an endorsement in teaching courses relating to financial literacy; establishes a State Seal of Financial Literacy Program to recognize high school graduates with a high level of proficiency in financial literacy; and establishes the State Financial Literacy Advisory Council.

SB319 Definitions of Counselors/Psychologists/Social Workers – Enrolled. Defines and establishes the duties of school counselors, psychologists, and social workers and requires each school, to the extent available, to employ a full-time school counselor.

SB320 More Rigorous Courses – Signed. Requires the State Board of Education to adopt regulations to require school districts to identify students in grades 3 to 12 for placement in more rigorous courses in mathematics, english, language, arts, science, and social studies. Districts are required to place the students in these courses unless a parent or guardian submits written notice of their objection.

SB321 Achievement School District Repeal – Signed. Removes the Achievement School District from the Nevada Revised Statutes and transfers those schools to the State Public Charter School Authority.

SB343 Training for Superintendents and Trustees – Failed. State would have adopted standards for initial training and continuing education for superintendents and trustees.

SB403 School Service Providers – Enrolled. Requires school districts to post on their Web site a list of school service providers, the laws governing them, school plans for the security of the data, and a manner to report any suspicious activity related to the use of the school service provider. A school service provider must also send out a notification if there is a breach of the data security plan.

SB441 Regulations for Online Charter Schools – Signed. Removes the requirement for a student to need to receive permission from the board of trustees of the school district they reside in who before they can enroll full-time in distance education program outside of the district; and prohibits a charter school sponsored by a school district from enrolling students in a full-time program of distance education if they reside outside of the school district.

SB467 Zoom/Victory School Extension – Enrolled. Extends the Zoom and Victory Schools Program for the upcoming biennium.

SB469 Clark County School District Reorganization – Enrolled. Gives the Superintendent the authority to determine how many schools each School Associate Superintendent oversees and allows schools to project future enrollment instead of utilizing previous enrollment.

SB475 Teacher Evaluation – Signed. Student Learning Goals will be decreased to 15 percent of the weight in teacher evaluations (and administrators who provide direct instructional support to students).

SB551 Modified Business Tax (MBT) Extension/Block Grant – Enrolled. Ends the required reduction of the MBT rate and funds school safety facility improvements, adds additional money for New Nevada Plan (SB178), and helps fund for three percent cost of living increase and two percent seniority increase for school districts’ employees.

SB555 K-12 Budget – Signed. The major funding bill for K-12 programs, with a list of per-pupil allocations by county.

The CCSD Government Relations team’s full report on all education-related legislation tracked throughout the session will be available on our site, http://ccsd.net/spotlight, by the end of July.

Thank you to many of our great partners who supported us this past session. Among them were Fund our Future Nevada, the Nevada System of Higher Education, the Nevada State Education Association, the Clark County Education Association, the Clark County Association of School Administrators, Teach Plus Nevada, Educate Nevada Now, HOPE for Nevada, the Las Vegas Metro Chamber, and many more!