2015 Legislative Update For Week of 4/13/15
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Weekly Update


Forum For Our Future

Interactive meeting educates lawmakers

Students, teachers, parents let Legislators know what school life is like in their shoes
Saturday's Forum For Our Future was a big success. From left, Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz (Dist. 11), NSHE Regent Allison Stephens (Dist. 4), Senator Moises "Mo" Denis (Dist. 2), Cardeñas Market community partner and Forum host Marco Robles, and Sen. Ruben Kihuene (Dist. 10) were present to listen to and answer questions from students, teachers, families and community members about many different educational issues in Nevada.
Legislators took time from their busy schedules to attend the first Forum For Our Future, presented by HOPE and Better Education Today. Approximately 100 people were in attendance on Saturday at the East Las Vegas Community Center and were eager to express their concerns and experiences to lawmakers about myriad educational issues facing students, teachers and families across Nevada, specifically in Clark County.

The Legislators on the panel at the community event were Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz, Senator Moises "Mo" Denis, and Sen. Ruben Kihuen and Nevada State of Higher Education Regent Allison Stephens. Also present was North Las Vegas City Councilman Isaac Barron, Senator Mark Manendo, and community partner and sponsor of the event from Cardeñas Market Marco Robles.

One after another, students spoke up about their daily life at school with topics ranging from the need for improved and updated school buildings; to the need for GATE (gifted and talented education) and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) funding and opportunities; to praise for CIS (Communities In Schools) and the great needs that charitable group fulfills.

Parents, principals, and teachers also addressed the panel regarding the disparity of educational choices and the need for full-day Kindergarten; the amazing work Zoom Schools are doing with ELL students, and the results already seen from this literacy program; as well as all the issues surrounding the teacher shortage and extra burdens placed on teachers to excel in their jobs and show student improvement.

There were plenty of take-aways on both sides of the conversation. The community was strongly encouraged to voice their opinions and was reminded that they really do matter and make a difference when lawmakers are deliberating bills.

Legislators agreed that much help is needed in education and that they are there to create positive changes, but they need also support. Legislators can only truly represent their constituents' needs if they hear from them and see them supporting or opposing the bills that matter most to their lives.

Diaz supported that sentiment and added that too many of her colleagues feel the State spends too much money on education as it is. She reminds them that they are really "investing in education now so that they don't have to spend more taxpayer money later in social programs and prisons."

Check out the news broadcasts from Saturday's Forum For Our Future on KSNV Channel 3* and KLAS Channel 8.

*Channel 3 video clip will be posted on HOPE's Twitter and Facebook pages later today. It was not available at press time.

Expiration date

Bills reach another critical deadline

There's a saying in Carson City: What doesn't happen in committee, dies in committee. Well, OK, there's not really a saying like that, but we did just pass another major deadline last Friday that is basically the same idea.

The First Committee Passage deadline is where any bill that has yet to be heard by its originating committee “dies in committee,” either because it wasn’t given a hearing or didn’t have enough votes to pass out of committee. Of the 995 measures introduced so far in the 78th Session, 246 bills have now died. (If you're keeping track, that's 119 of 509 measures in the Senate and 127 of 486 measures in the Assembly.) Bills designated “exempt” — usually because they have a fiscal impact on the budget — do not have to meet that deadline.

Bills that have become law
  • SB119 – On March 6, SB119 was signed into law by Gov. Sandoval. It provided for a 10-year rollover of a school construction bond, and it also contains a provision for lifting prevailing wages paid to skilled workers for those same state-funded school construction projects.
  • SB207 – On March 4, Gov. Sandoval signed SB207 into law. It is a “clean” school construction rollover bond bill as it did not have any prevailing wage language included in it. It was introduced as an "emergency bill.”
  • AB165 – This bill was delivered to the Governor's desk on April 10. It 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.

Bills that have died

  • AB22 (Count Day Audits)
  • AB55 (CCSD Temp Licenses)  
  • AB290 (Redundant due to SB405)
  • AB291 (Early Childhood Education-Not enough $)
  • AB303 (Common Core)
  • AB314 (Trustee Complaints)
  • AB319 (School District Audits)
  • AB339 (Appointed School Boards)
  • AB349 (Teacher Lesson Plan Freedom)
  • AB376 (Ends Class Size Reduction)
  • AB446 (Redundant due to SB460)
  • SB8 (Redundant due to AB447)
  • SB106 (Redundant due to SB207/SB119)
  • SB120 (Redundant due to SB92)
  • SB226 (CCEA PD-Redundant due to SB474)
  • SB228 (Data Opt-Out)
  • SB287 (Cursive Writing)
  • SB290 (Common Core)
  • SB345 (Ds Full-Day K)
  • SB347 (Redundant due to SB432)
  • SB430 (Redundant due to SB405)
  • SB462 (Spending Requirements)
* Compilation courtesy of Nevada Succeeds

Follow up

Committees race to hear bills by deadline

  • AB221 – Requires the Department of Education and school boards to publish accountability reports on the NDE's website with reasons for tracking the data and a list of entities with access to it. The bill passed with amendments 14-0 and heads to the Assembly floor.
  • AB278Requires the Department of Education to develop procedures and policies relating to Class Size Reduction and to monitor ratios, variances and the use of funds earmarked for CSR. The bill passed with an amendment and heads to the Assembly floor.
  • AB374Would require counselors/education personnel to meet with students after their ACT results are received, to determine a path of college and/or career readiness and if remediation is needed. The bill passed out of the Education Committee 14-0 with no amendments.
  • AB378The bill makes charter schools eligible for class-size reduction funding and no longer has anything to do with performance pay (Master Teacher Fund). It passed out of the Education Committee with an amendment and moves to the Assembly floor.
  • AB394This bill would break up CCSD into at least five precincts in time for the 2017-18 school year. Precincts would be governed by a council. The bill was heard in Assembly Education Committee with an amendment to deviate from city boundaries. It passed out of committee and is exempt due to the fiscal note.
  • AB421Creates the Spending and Government Efficiency Commission for public education in this State for 2015-16. The Commission will consist of 12 members with business experience, and will examine spending with goals to streamline spending and improve the quality of education. It passed out of committee.
  • AB447Uses recommendations of the Teachers and Leaders Council into law saying 25 percent evaluations comes from each local and state assessments. The bill passed without amendments and goes to the Assembly floor.
  • AB448 – This bill authorizes the DOE to establish a new school district, the Achievement School District, that will take over persistently underperforming schools and transform them into a high-quality charter school. It passed with amendments and is eligible for exemption. It now moves to Assembly Ways and Means.
  • 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. The bill was heard in the Senate Assembly Committee  and went into a work session where it passed 6-1 with an amendment.
  • SB295 – Focuses on STEM instruction across the state. The bill requires the NVDOE to create a website for STEM majors, and provisions for school districts to provide professional development to its staff in STEM and Nevada Academic Content Standards in English, math and science.The bill passed with amendments and moves to the Senate Finance Committee.
  • SB302 – Establishes a universal education savings account (ESA) from the DSA to be used towards private schools, religious schools, homeschooling, or other alternative forms of education. These Educational Savings Accounts could be used for tuition, textbooks, tutoring and college savings, among other expenses. The bill passed with amendments.
  • SB332 – Allocates $1 million in each year of the biennium to CCSD for the Peer Assistance and Review program. The funds must be used to provide assistance to teachers in meeting the standards of effective teaching. The bill is exempt and will be heard in Senate Finance Committee.
  • SB391 – The Read by 3rd Grade bill that requires school districts and charter schools to report the number of 3rd graders retained each year to the Nevada Department of Education. The bill was heard in the Senate Education Committee and is eligible for exemption. It passed 6-0 with amendments and moves to Senate Finance.
  • SB397 – Implements the proposed changes to the Nevada Plan, or weighted funding formula, for English Language Learners and Free and Reduced Lunch students. The bill is exempt and will be heard soon in the Senate Finance Committee.
  • SB405 – Expands the program of Zoom schools and the provision of programs and services to children who are ELL in certain other schools. This bill allows money to be spent on professional development, family engagement, and teacher incentives. The bill passed with amendments.
  • SB411 – An act relating to taxation, authorizing the board of trustees of a school district to adopt a resolution establishing the formation of a Public Schools Overcrowding and Repair Needs Committee. The bill passed without opposition and moves to the full Senate.
  • SB424 – Creates the K-12 Public Education Stabilization Account. It reallocates 50 percent of remaining fund balance money and reverts from the State Distributive School Account to a stabilization account for the future. the bill is exempt and will be heard in near future in Senate Finance Committee.
  • 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. This is part of the Governor's budget. The bill is exempt and passed 6-0 in work session; it is now headed to Senate Finance.
  • SB461 – Provides for an individual high school graduation plan to allow certain students enrolled in a public high school to remain enrolled for an additional period to work towards graduation. It passed out of a work session 7-0 without amendments and now heads to Senate Finance Committee.
  • SB463 – Revises provisions relating to student data security and protection. Students who are 16 and older can view their own data, while younger students can have a parent view their data. The bill was heard in Senate Education Committee and passed unanimously out of a work session. It now moves to full Senate.
  • SB503 – Provides for the creation and implementation of the Breakfast After the Bell Program. The bill, which is exempt, passed out of work session 6-0 and is headed to Senate Finance Committee.
  • SB508 – Provides for long-term modernization of the Nevada Plan based on a weighted funding formula for ELLs, FRLs, Special Ed, and GATE. This bill was heard last week in the Senate Committee on Eduction and re-referred to the Senate Committee on Finance. The bill is exempt and will be heard in the Senate Finance Committee in near future.

Coming up this week

Tuesday, April 14
  • SB236 – This bill makes minor changes to the STEM Advisory Council. It will be heard by the Senate Committee on Finance meeting at 8 a.m.
  • AB27 and AB30 – Both bills will be heard before the Senate Committee on Education meeting at 3:30 p.m. AB27 allows all non US citizens who are properly credentialed to become full-time licensed teachers in Nevada K-12 schools. AB30 adjusts how the State Department of Education measures literacy rates and it also allows for principals to request the types of support for student success.

Your two cents

Contact Legislators

Getting in touch with your legislators is easy and they really do want to hear from you. Your opinions help shape our laws. And don't forget to mention you're a member of HOPE!
  • The Share Your Opinion page offers a form for one-stop communication with minimal effort and no searching for legislator contact information.
  • Contact Senators and Assemblypeople directly. Each branch of the Legislature has all the contact information for its members listed on one page.

On our radar

Educational bills worth mentioning

  • AB234 – Requires State Board of Education to create a multicultural education program focused on elementary and middle schools. CCSD proposed an amendment to embed the course within the Nevada Academic Content Standards.
  • AB485 – Transfers the STEM advisory council to the Governor's office of Science, Innovation, and Technology from the Department of Education/
  • SB460 – Creates a framework for evaluating alternative schools that have at least 75 percent of its population fit into one of four guidelines: previously expelled studetns, habitual discipline problem, Special Education qualification, or have serious academic or behavior issues.

Stay informed during the session by using the Nevada Electronic Legislative Information System (NELIS). It offers access to Bills, Budgets, and Committees, a useful Calendar, contact information for Senate and Assembly members, and you can also sign up for Personalized Legislative Tracking

And now, if you miss anything, archived videos of past meetings and floor sessions are available for viewing.

The spotlight
on policy change

HOPE's Top 5 Goals

What does HOPE want? We want to see change in areas that will improve the chances of a better education for our current and future students. Our platform is broad and inclusive:
  • Pre-K for under-resourced children
  • Universal full-day Kindergarten
  • Embedded and collaborative Professional Development
  • Funding Formula reform and a Stabilization Account
  • Rollover bonds for school construction and refurbishment

The 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!

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