Copy
2015 Post Sine Die Summary 6/4/15
View this email in your browser

Post sine die summary

 

Success in school

HOPE's Top 5 Goals are game, set, match

The majority of HOPE's objectives this session came to fruition, thanks to YOU!

It's a wrap!

'Historic' 78th Session invests in education

Nevada's students, teachers are real winners with unprecedented funding for schools
The last few days of the 78th Session of the Nevada Legislature were a flurry of activity culminating in a fever pitch on June 1. Senate and Assembly bills flew from one house to the other, lawmakers met in impromptu committee meetings on the chamber floors, amendments were read and added to bills, and votes were cast, fast.

But when the clock struck midnight, all the commotion in both chambers ceased. Any and all bills awaiting discussion or a vote died on the spot. The Assembly adjourned sine die at approximately 12:17 a.m. (watch part 1part 2, and part 3 here), and the Senate followed a minute later. 

Legislators on both sides of the aisle are calling this session historic, one for the record books. Who would have guessed in February that not only would this be the year education is funded at record levels in Nevada, but also that a republican governor and GOP-led chambers would be the ones to usher in the largest general-fund budget and the largest tax plan in the state's history. It is unprecedented. 

"The Legislature faced many challenges this session but none greater than the task of changing our education system to ensure that every child is given the opportunity to receive a first-class education," Sandoval said. "The passage of this bill begins a new era of public education in Nevada, a time when our students and schools are a priority in our communities."

Gov. Brian Sandoval's tax plan is an "omnibus" measure, meaning it combines parts of SB483 into AB464. The tax plan contains $1.1 billion in both new and extended taxes. It will provide funding to all of his education initiatives, programs such a Zoom schools, Victory schools, Read by Third Grade, Full-day Kindergarten, and modernizing the per-pupil spending formula in the Nevada Plan. And, it will bring in more than $600 million in funding via SB483's now-permanent "sunset" taxes and a $1 bump on the cigarette tax.

The tax bill itself, SB464, will raise at least $510 million every two years. It is comprised of three parts that work together to broaden the state's tax base and allow investment in education through a business license fee, a modified business tax, and a "commerce" tax based on industry type and gross revenue.

Overall, $2.85 billion was secured for K-12 funding for the next two-year budget cycle, said Sandoval's Chief of Staff Mike Willden. That's about a 16 percent increase from the current budget, from $2.46 billion to $2.85 billion, he said.

One other bill of interest for CCSD families that quickly passed through the final chamber roll call in the last few moments of session, not part of the education funding or Governor's initiatives, was AB394, a bill that will study the prospect of deconsolidating the Clark County School District. 

The "CCSD break up bill" was amended to include the creation of an advisory committee and a technical committee to develop a plan for reorganizing the district into five or more precincts. The plan must be ready to implement before the 2018-2019 school; however, the Legislative Council Bureau can stop the plan if it doesn't approve it before implementation.

There is one more deadline to note, even with the close of session, and that is the Governor's deadline of signing bills. Once the session closes and bills have been enrolled and sent to the Governor's desk, he must act within five days after it is received (Sundays excepted) if the Legislature is still in session. But if the bill is delivered after the adjournment sine die, the Governor has 10 days after adjournment to act. The Governor may sign the bill into law, allow it to become law without a signature, or veto it.

A vetoed bill is returned to the house of origin to consider overriding the veto. An override of the veto requires a two-thirds majority vote of each legislative house. If the Governor vetoes a bill after the session adjourns sine die, the bill is returned to the next regular legislative session. Measures become effective on October 1 following the end of the legislative session, unless otherwise specified in the bill.

Sharing the love

A sincere thanks to those who help

It's been a whirlwind couple months in our state's capitol. So many people have come together to help make positive changes for students and teachers: Senators and Assembly members, the Legislative Council Bureau, staff, attachés, and other support teams. And after 17 weeks of intense work, dedication, and long hours away from family, home, and regular day-to-day jobs, all these folks deserve some recognition and credit. 

But, you know what? So do you!

Our HOPE members have made quite an impact on the legislative process this session. At first, Legislators said they never hear "the parent voice." They thought we were apathetic and didn't care enough to get involved.

Boy, were they wrong! Before long, Legislators could not deny hearing from "the parent voice" because HOPE members spoke up — with testimony, phone calls, letters, emails, and on the Legislative Opinion Poll page. As a group, HOPE is made up of hundreds of informed, vocal families in Southern Nevada who care about education and our students' futures. We are growing, and they are listening.

So thank you, HOPE members! You proved that together our voices are mighty and we cannot be ignored. And the more we stay informed on the issues and communicate our goals with local, state and (eventually!) national lawmakers, the more Nevada gains.

So now that the school year is over, and we can collectively take a deep breath and slowly exhale, why not be a mensch (a good guy) and send a note of gratitude to our elected officials and let them know their time, effort, and dedication are much appreciated and do make a difference in your life. If possible, ask your students to tell them how these changes affect them, too. It's the best possible feedback our lawmakers can receive — and the most meaningful. 

You can find all the contact info you need to reach Senators here, Assembly members here, and if you'd like to specifically contact your own elected officials, go here and enter your onfo in the address field on the upper right corner.


"The horizon leans forward, offering you space to place new steps of change."

 

— Maya Angelou

Sine die

Bills either see light of day or crash and burn

The final deadline on the 120-day calendar loomed large on June 1 as the Assembly and Senate bodies worked quickly yet diligently through their long lists of bills in the general files. Any bills that were left without a vote by the stroke of midnight were declared dead and the 78th Session of the Nevada Legislature adjourned sine die — that's Latin for "ending without any future date designated for resumption."

Here's a recap of some of the bills we kept an eye on this session. This summary is only to keep our membership informed of some of the more interesting ideas in the Nevada Legislature this year and is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all education-related bills heard this session.

As noted below, bills are designated by their passage/adoption through the chambers, or failure to do so, and are marked as "enrolled and sent to governor," "signed into law," or "failed to meet deadline." Enrollment is defined as the final printing of a bill or resolution after enactment by both houses.

ASSEMBLY BILLS
  • AB27 – Allows all properly credentialed non US citizens to become full-time licensed teachers in Nevada K-12 schools. SIGNED INTO LAW
  • AB165 – Establishes the Nevada Educational Choice Scholarship Program. Payroll and Modified Business Tax payers can donate funds to this private program in the form of a scholarship and get a tax credit. ENROLLED AND SENT TO GOVERNOR
  • AB172 – Revises the manner in which the prevailing wage is determined. AB172 repeals SB119, which exempted school districts from paying prevailing wage. Now Labor Commission will set the wage on school projects at 90 percent of the prevailing wage on other public works. ENROLLED
  • AB303 – Would remove the requirement that a student pass current end-of-course examinations in certain subjects, repeals the Common Core State Standards, and it would replace it with the state's previous standards. FAILED TO MEET DEADLINE
  • AB394 – Forms a committee to create a deconsolidation plan of Clark County School District. ENROLLED
  • AB447 – Recommends that teacher evaluations are weighted according to the Teachers and Leaders Council: 25 percent comes from local assessments and another 25 percent from statewide assessments. ENROLLED
  • AB448 – This bill authorizes the DOE to establish a new school district, the Achievement School District, that will take over persistently under-performing schools and transform them into a high-quality charter school. It was amended to limit the ASD enrollment to an opt-out system. ENROLLED
Senate Bill
  • SB119 – A bill relating to the school construction rollover bond, but it also removed the prevailing wage requirements from school construction projects for skilled workers. SIGNED, then REPEALED
  • SB133 – Creates a Teachers' School Supplies Reimbursement account to pay back teachers for out-of-pocket school expenses up to $250 per year. ENROLLED
  • SB207, a “clean” school construction rollover bond bill, was introduced as an "emergency bill." SIGNED  
  • SB220 – Requires middle school/junior high school students to learn about personal financial literacy, such as understanding loans, debt, credit, interest rates, taxes, insurance, and more. This bill comes from the Nevada Youth Legislature. FAILED
  • SB236 – This bill makes changes to the STEM advisory council; it requires at least six meetings a year, two in-person meetings and a videoconference option for remaining meetings. FAILED
  • SB290 – Replaces the Common Core standards with the Massachusetts standards from 2010 in math and English. FAILED
  • SB302 – Establishes a universal education savings account (ESA) that the State will pay from the DSA to be used towards private schools, religious schools, homeschooling, transportation, or other alternative forms of education. These Educational Savings Accounts could be used for tuition, textbooks, tutoring and college savings, among other expenses. SIGNED
  • SB332 – Allocates $1 million for each year of the biennium to support the Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) program in Clark County and Washoe County. ENROLLED
  • SB338 – Sen. Debbie Smith's bill complements Gov. Sandoval's anti-bullying campaign and requires the Director of the Office for a Safe and Respectful Learning Environment within the DOE to establish the Safe-to-Tell Program to enable anonymous reporting of dangerous, violent or unlawful activity or threats, in or at a public school. ENROLLED
  • SB391 – The Read by 3rd Grade bill provides support services for early grades with a focus on improving literacy rates. Students must pass a reading test by third grade or be held back. It also requires school districts and charter schools to report the number of third graders retained each year to the Nevada Department of Education. ENROLLED
  • SB397 – This is the implementation of the new Nevada Plan that requires weighted funding for English Language Learners and Free and Reduced Lunch students. FAILED
  • SB405 – Enhances ZOOM School funding for landmark programs providing free quality Pre-K, full-day Kindergarten, ELL reading centers, and an extended school year with necessary transportation. ZOOM schools also act to provide incentives to fill our teacher vacancies. ENROLLED
  • SB424 – Creates the K-12 Public Education Stabilization Account, reallocating 50% of the remaining balance from the State Distributive School Account to a stabilization account for the future. FAILED
  • SB432 – Creates Victory Schools with goal of having students in poverty read at or above grade level, are ready for high school, and graduate without the need for remediation. ENROLLED
  • SB474 – Creates the Great Teaching and Leading Fund in the state budget. Funds can be used for professional development, teacher and leader recruitment and preparation, and peer assistance and review. ENROLLED
  • SB491 – Allocates $5 million a year per biennium to a private nonprofit to recruit high-quality charter schools for students below the Federal poverty line. ENROLLED
  • SB503 – Provides for the creation and implementation of the Breakfast After the Bell Program. ENROLLED
  • SB504 – Anti-bullying bills allows for a safe and respectful learning environment for students as well as administrators, teachers, and support staff in public schools, and creates an Office of Safe and Respectful Learning Environment within the DOE. SIGNED
  • SB508 – Provides for long-term modernization of the Nevada Plan (per-pupil funding) based on a weighted funding formula for ELL, FRL, Special Ed, and GATE students. ENROLLED
  • SB515 – Ensures sufficient funding in the DSA for K-12 public education categorical funds for the 2015-2017 biennium. This is the major funding bill for K-12 programs, including the per-pupil allocations for each county, including full-day kindergarten for every school. ENROLLED

Map it out

Where do we go from here?


Ok, the session's over. Now what?!

First, the HOPE team is going to take a nap! But then we're getting right back to work keeping our members informed and up to date on all the latest and greatest education topics that affect Southern Nevada students.


We'll be following the Legislative Commission, Clark County School District Trustee meetings, and Department of Education meetings, among others. And, considering the last-minute wrangling of AB394, the bill that formed a committee to create a deconsolidation plan for CCSD, we'll be following the progress on that, too. 

Coming up on June 25 at 8 a.m., there is an Interim Finance Committee meeting. This group functions within the Legislative Counsel Bureau between sessions and administers a contingency fund. It is composed of the members of the Senate Committee on Finance and the Assembly Committee on Ways and Means from the preceding session. The meeting will be videoconferenced to Room 4401 of the Grant Sawyer State Office Building, 555 E. Washington Ave.

But most importantly, we want to hear from you. What other education-related topics would you like to work toward for the next Legislative Session in 2017? Let us know in an email to hello@hopefornevada.org. We'll also be sending out a survey, so keep an eye on your inbox over the summer.

A voice for our children

We all need HOPE!

HOPE is guided purely by the goal to provide the best education possible for all students in the state. Our parent advocacy group formed in 2014 to fill the void where family and community involvement was largely missing. Our membership allows us to offer a unified voice representing families and community members all over Southern Nevada. It also helps educate and inform local and state level decision-makers and legislators on specific needs of students and teachers in Clark County and beyond.

Share HOPE with your friends and ask them to sign up today to become a member — www.hopefornevada.org. With your support, we will always have HOPE for Nevada's students!

Like what you've read? Share it with your friends and help spread a little HOPE. Thanks!
Share
Tweet