2015 Legislative Update For Week of 3/2/15
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Weekly Update

 

COMMITTEE LISTENS

HOPE brings 'parent voice' to NV Legislature

Testimony presented in favor of rollover bond as overcrowding emergency escalates


HOPE testified before the Assembly Committee on Government Affairs in favor of SB119 last Thursday. Senate Bill 119 provides for a 10-year rollover of a school construction bond, but it also contains a provision for lifting prevailing wages paid to skilled workers for those same state-funded school construction projects.

HOPE supported the bond measure but remained neutral in its testimony on the prevailing wage portion of the bill at last week's hearing and at the bill's previous meeting before the Senate Committee on Government Affairs on Feb. 4. The bill passed the Senate 11-9 down party lines. The Assembly has not taken any action yet.

The future of SB119 is uncertain. Having both the rollover bond and the the prevailing wage aspects included in one bill is proving to be controversial. SB119 may be heard in a work session in the near future where it could have amendments added to it or it could die altogether — leaving us with no way to fund school construction and maintenance projects for years to come.

It is important to note that the rollover bond is the only mechanism CCSD has to fund any construction or refurbishment projects — without raising or adding taxes. The last bond measure partially failed because it was an additional tax. School districts cannot build new schools from Operating budgets; it may only build from Capital budgets.

Over the weekend, CCSD reported 665 new elementary students in the last three weeks alone — that's a total of 2,587 new elementary students since September 2014. This infographic, CCSD Construction Facts, illustrates the dire need for new school construction in our district.

Without SB119's rollover bond, the school district is forced to utilize short-term "fixes" to the overcrowding problem, none of them are a concrete solution. Currently, we have 61 schools on the "year-round watch list" and 21 are actively being considered for rezoning due to overcrowding. SB119 can change this bleak forecast. The district said it is preparing school sites for immediate construction if the 2015 legislature approves a rollover of the school construction bond.

It is crucial the Assembly Committee of Government Affairs hears from you, HOPE members! Legislators continue to say that parents must show they have a stake in what is being discussed. If you have any personal stories about how overcrowding, year-round schooling, or the need for maintenance or refurbishment has affected your family, make sure to include it, along with your contact information.

We need everyone — parents, family, friends, neighbors, coworkers — to support the rollover bond in SB119 by writing to the Assembly Committee on Government Affairs at: AsmGA@asm.state.nv.us.

Contacting the individual Assembly people is critical too: Chairman John Ellison, Vice Chair John Moore*, Glenn Trowbridge*, Victoria Dooling*, Shelly Shelton*, Edgar Flores*, Stephen Silberkraus*, Amber Joiner*, Lynn Stewart, Melissa Woodbury, Richard Carrillo, Harvey Munford, Dina Neal, and Ellen Spiegel.

* Freshman Assembly members. HOPE strongly recommends that Freshman members of the Legislature receive communication directly to their inboxes. Personal emails go a long way with them compared to the Opinion Poll form.

MONEY TALKS

Key education budget initiatives discussed

HOPE also testified before the the Senate Committee on Finance and Assembly Committee on Ways and Means Joint Subcommittees on K-12/Higher Education/CIPS on Friday in favor of education initiatives that conform to HOPE's Top 5 Goals, such as Funding formula reform, universal full-day Kindergarten, Pre-K for under-resourced children, and professional development for teachers. This was a continuation from the previous week's meeting. No funding decisions have been made so far and the education budget hearings will resume on March 3.

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 again by Senate Committee on Education in a Work Session last Thursday where the Pre-K standards were removed from the bill. It will be heard on Senate floor after legal department works on the amendments.
     
  • 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 in the Senate Education Committee last Tuesday; it is exempt from final dates for action due to the $5 million fiscal note for operating expenses.

COMING UP THIS WEEK

Ed budgets; AB30, AB55 in work session

  • March 2 @ 3:15 p.m – A Work Session in the Assembly Committee on Education is scheduled to hear AB30 and AB55. AB30 adjusts how the state measures students achievements. AB55 proposes a process to grant temporary teacher licenses of up to six months to those who are waiting to complete final paperwork.
  • March 3 @ 8 .m.  – The Joint Subcommittee on K-12 will hear the remaining budgets from the Nevada Department of Education.

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. Don't forget to tell them 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

  • AB112 – Revises policy concerning a safe and respectful learning environment for children, teachers, support staff and administration in public schools throughout the State. Assembly Committee on Education heard the bill last week.
  • AB27 – This bill tackles teacher shortage by allowing non-citizens with work permits to obtain a teaching license. It passed out of the Assembly Committee on Education. The legal department is currently working on the amendments.
  • 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 without opposition and is awaiting amendments via Legal department before it can be introduced on the Assembly floor.
  • 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 heard the bill in a Work Session last week.
  • SB75 – Creates a testing schedule that accommodates a year-round school calendar for SBAC tests. It was heard in the Senate Committee on Education last week where it passed 6-0 with an amendment. It will be introduced on Senate floor soon.
  • 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 originally heard by Senate Education Committee in a Work session last week where it passed with amendments. It has a fiscal note attached and will eventually move to Senate Committee on Finance.
  • 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.

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 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

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.

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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