Overwhelming support for education during legislative session

The 2021 Nevada Legislative session signaled a momentous shift for education in the Silver State that will help the Clark County School District (CCSD) improve student achievement.

Public education saw the single largest increase of funding in education history in the State of Nevada of approximately $500 million allocated for education. This money helped the state transition from the outdated Nevada Plan to the new Pupil Centered Funding Plan.

State lawmakers cleared the way for the first change in Nevada’s education funding formula in more than 54 years. Along with the new Pupil Centered Funding Formula, both CCSD-sponsored bills passed as lawmakers recognized the direct impact the changes will have on student success.

“The Nevada Legislature came together to make the students of Clark County a priority,” CCSD Board of School Trustees President Linda P. Cavazos said. “I appreciate the leadership shown by Speaker Jason Frierson, Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro and Governor Steve Sisolak in working through the entire session to support educators.”

“I thank the Nevada Legislature for prioritizing school funding, school safety, school infrastructure and student mental health throughout the session,” CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus F. Jara said. “We are thankful for the hard work of Governor Steve Sisolak and the legislators in providing our educators with the tools and funding needed to support student achievement.”

SB 439

This new Pupil Centered Funding Plan will allocate money based on additional weights for different student groups such as English Learners, “At-Risk” Students, and Gifted and Talented Students. Funding for students with special needs meanwhile, will be funded outside of the funding plan.

SB 450

Extends the ability for school districts to focus on capital improvement and new school construction through 2035. For CCSD, this can result in potentially 13 new schools, 33 replacement schools, and countless other renovations and

replacements in other schools. Estimates show that this bill will generate over $3 billion in economic output in Southern Nevada.

AB 495

This bill redirects existing mining taxes towards education in the 2023-2025 biennium. The bill also allocates $215 million from the state’s share of federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars to school districts and charter schools to address student learning loss throughout the state.

SB 2 & SB 66

Governor Steve Sisolak also signed both of Clark County School District sponsored bills that were recently passed by the 2021 Nevada Legislature. This marks the first time in more than 20 years that all District-sponsored bills have passed in a legislative session.

Prior to the session, the CCSD Board of Trustees prioritized three key issues: school funding, improved learning environments and School Safety and Mental Health. The 81st Nevada Legislature passed 17 bills impacting those areas. Below is a breakdown of the issue areas:

Priority Education Issues

School Funding

  • Preserve the weighted funding formula (SB439)

  • Ensuring dollars are appropriated by end of session (SB439, SB458)

School Safety and Mental Health

  • Ensure restorative practice models help students (AB67, AB194, SB354)

  • Find ways to recruit, retain school counselors, school social workers, school psychologists, student success advocates, and mental health specialists  (SB151, SB352)

  • Support programs that emphasize suicide prevention and training for students and employees (SB249)

Improved Learning Environment

  • Authorization of a rollover bond for school construction (SB450)

  • Create competency based learning models (SB215)

  • Support efforts to expand dual credit opportunities (AB319, SB160, SB172)

  • Support teacher pipeline and retention efforts (SB27, SB352)

  • Grow the number of Pre-kindergarten seats (AB494, Sec. 15)

  • Reduce reporting requirements for educators to focus on student achievement (SB2)

  • Protect employee confidentiality through the implementation of whistleblower protections (AB222)

  • Support Vegas PBS’ efforts for funding educational services and digital technology enhancements and upgrades (SB458)

For more information about the 2021 Board of School Trustees Legislative Platform, click here.