2015 Legislative Update For Week of 2/23/15
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Weekly Update


HOPE @ The Legislature

Funding plan, full-day K budgets examined

Nevada Superintendent of Public Instruction details Distributive School Account
HOPE traveled to The Nevada Legislature last week to testify in favor of several of its Top 5 Goals for Education: Full-day Kindergarten, embedded and collaborative Professional Development for teachers, and reforming the Nevada Plan's educational funding formula. Four budgets were slated to be heard at Thursday's Budget Hearing before the Senate Committee on Finance and Assembly Committee on Ways & Means Joint Subcommittee on K-12/Higher Education/CIPS.

Dale Erquiaga, the Nevada Department of Education's Superintendent of Public Instruction, detailed Budget 2610 and Budget 2615 to the joint subcommittee. His presentation fully explained the Distributive School Account (DSA), the main funding source for Nevada's education system that covers basic support for school districts and charter schools, and the School Remediation Trust Fund, that is funding universal full-day Kindergarten. The hearing ended after only two out of the four budgets on the agenda were heard; a continuation meeting was scheduled for the remaining budgets for Feb. 27 at 8 a.m.

Follow Up

Senate Bills heard, moving forward

  • SB25 – Cleans up language from State Board of Education reforms of 2011, in part referring to Pre-Kindergarten standards. It was heard by the Senate Committee on Education on Feb. 10. There was a lot of push-back by homeschooling groups and families against state-provided Pre-K but the committee also heard positive testimony from CCSD. It will be heard again in an upcoming Work Session, but has yet to be scheduled.
  • SB119 – Allows for a 10-year rollover bond for new school construction and maintenance, without an increase in taxes. The bill also contains a provision that removes the prevailing wage requirement from school construction projects. It passed the Senate with a 11-9 vote down party lines and moved on to the Assembly Committee on Government Affairs. No meeting is scheduled yet.

    This infographic, CCSD Construction Facts, outlines the dire need of new school construction in our district.
  • SB133 – Creates a Teachers' School Supplies Reimbursement account to pay back teachers for out-of-pocket school expenses up to $100 per year. The bill was heard on Feb. 17 by the Senate Committe on Education.

Coming Up This Week

Professional Development on deck

  • Budget 2618 and Budget 2699 – This is the continuation meeting for the Budget Hearings from last week. Budgets regarding Professional Development and Gifted and Talented educational programming will be heard. Watch the next meeting live HERE on Friday, Feb. 27 at 8 a.m., or in Room 4412E of the Grant Sawyer State Office Building, 555 E. Washington Ave.
  • SCR1 – Senate Concurrent Resolution 1 directs the Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections to create an interim study with three senators and three assembly members concerning the professional development of teachers and administrators. No meeting date set as of yet.

Your Two Cents

Get in touch with your legislators

The Share Your Opinion page on the Nevada Legislative site offers an easy way to tell lawmakers how you really feel. You can choose a specific bill or budget, indicate whether your are For or Against it, and there's space to include personal comments. This easy form bypasses the hurdle of finding out who the appropriate Senator, Assemblyperson, or Committee is and lets you comment directly on the item of interest to you!

On Our Radar

Educational bills worth mentioning

  • AB112 – Revises policy concerning a safe and respectful learning environment for children enrolled in public schools throughout the State. Assembly Committee on Education will hear the bill on 2/25/15 @ 3:15 p.m.
  • AB27 and AB55 – Both bills are concerned with tackling the teacher shortage. AB27 allows non-citizens with work permits to obtain a teaching license, and AB55 proposes a process to grant temporary teacher licenses of up to six months to those who are waiting to complete final paperwork. The former bill passed out of the Assembly Committee on Education unanimously and is now on the Assembly floor; the latter bill is awaiting a Work Session.
  • AB107 – Adds different reporting categories to annual accountability reports for Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL) students to gain more information on achievement gaps. This bill passed out of the Assembly Committee on Education and is awaiting a vote on the Assembly floor.
  • AB165 – Establishes the Nevada Educational Choice Scholarship Program, a private school choice program, where taxpayers can donate funds in exchange for tax credits. It was heard on Feb. 18 by the Assembly Committee on Education.
  • SB8 – Relates to the evaluation of licensed educational personnel and administrators and reduces the percentage that student achievement counts for in a teacher's evaluation from 50 to 40 percent. Senate Committee on Education will hear this bill in the near future.
  • SB75 – Creates a testing schedule that accommodates a year-round school schedule for SBAC tests. It was already heard in the Senate Committee on Education and is scheduled for a Work Session on 2/24.
  • SB92 – This bill discusses a reduction in workforce that is based on teacher effectiveness. It has not yet been scheduled for a meeting with the Senate Committee on Education.
  • SB120, SB158 and SB168 – Senate Bill 120 requires the school board trustees to consider the performance evaluations of certain employees in carrying out a reduction in force. The other two bills provide provisions relating to collective bargaining by local governments and employers. All three bills will be heard on 2/27 at 1 p.m. with Senate Committee on Government Affairs.
  • SB126 – Establishes a system to identify early childhood education students who may be deficient in English language skills so they may be better prepared for Kindergarten. It was heard on 2/19 with no action taken.

Stay informed with what's going on 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.

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 low-resource children
  • Universal full-day Kindergarten
  • Embedded and collaborative Professional Development
  • Funding Formula reform and a Stabilization Account
  • Rollover bonds for school construction and refurbishment

A voice for
Nevada's 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.

Please share HOPE with your friends and ask them to sign up today and become a member on our web site at www.hopefornevada.org. With your support, we will always have HOPE for Nevada's students!

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