05 Jun CCSD thanks legislators for passing first update to funding formula in 52 years

On behalf of the Clark County School District (CCSD), Superintendent Dr. Jesus F. Jara expressed his appreciation for the final version of Senate Bill 543, which modernizes Nevada’s education funding formula for the first time in 52 years, and will provide long overdue and badly needed funding for some of the state’s neediest students. Nevada currently has the oldest funding formula in the nation.

“It’s almost impossible to achieve huge gains in education with an antiquated funding formula. This bill removes a giant obstacle impeding progress for Nevada’s children,” said Jara. “Modernizing Nevada’s funding formula is absolutely critical as we work to accelerate student achievement in Nevada and move toward adequate funding.”

CCSD thanks Sens. Joyce Woodhouse and Mo Denis, the bill’s primary sponsors, plus Governor Steve Sisolak, Speaker Jason Frierson, Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, and a slate of bipartisan legislators who supported the bill.

“While we still have work to do over the coming two years to implement this bill, we know that this legislation could serve as a model for states throughout the nation and finally give Nevada’s children an edge so they can compete with students from any other state in our nation,” said Trustee President Lola Brooks.

The final version of SB543 addresses the three major concerns about the funding formula expressed by the district:

  1. It is more transparent about where education money goes. In fact, a new amendment to SB543 ensures that districts will run two concurrent budgets — one with the current funding formula and one with the new one outlined in SB543 — to monitor the impact of the proposed formula.

  2. It protects money that is set aside for education so that it stays with education. A previous version of the bill ensured that all funds in education must remain with education unless there is an economic downturn and education funds need to be diverted. The current version of the bill says funds should remain “to the extent practicable” and allows the governor to determine if funding needs to be adjusted. This provides more transparency about when education funding is repurposed and discourages “supplanting.”

  3. It sets the stage for a student-centered weighted funding formula. Some students cost more to educate, and this would create a Commission to set weights for English Language Learners, at-risk students, special education students, and gifted and talented students. New language ensures that the Department of Education is more involved in the Commission’s work.