2015 Legislative Update For Week of 4/6/15
View this email in your browser

Weekly Update


Your presence is requested

Legislators to hear student needs

HOPE, Better Education Today present Forum For Our Students on April 11
Please mark your calendars to attend the Forum for our Students, an opportunity for legislators to hear the needs of our students and families on Saturday, April 11, from 10 a.m. to noon, hosted by HOPE and Better Education Today. 

There are a number of issues before the legislature that will have an enormous impact on Nevada’s education system and our students' futures. For some legislators, there is a disconnect in having the vital information they need, so they are taking the opportunity to learn from those of us who are directly affected.

We understand how hectic weekend schedules are, but we urge you to clear your Saturday morning so you and your children can attend this Forum. 
Some of the topics before our Legislature this session include: teacher vacancies/long-term substitutes, limited or no access to preschool or full-day Kindergarten, lack of Gifted And Talented Education (GATE) programming, lack of English Language Learner (ELL) support, no funding for educational programs, etc.

Members of our Senate and Assembly are eager to hear what you have to say. If you — and especially your children — have personal experiences to share regarding of any of the educational issues listed above, please RSVP now, and let us know what you'd like to discuss with our elected officials. Or, visit the Facebook event page for the Forum For Our Students.
Forum For Our Students
Saturday, April 11, from 10 a.m. to noon
East Las Vegas Community Center

250 N Eastern Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89101

Snacks and beverages will be provided by our gracious sponsor, Cardenas Market.
Congratulations, Nevada! You've reached the halfway mark in the historic 78th Session of the Nevada State Legislature! This friday, April 10th, is a major deadline for many bills. Unless otherwise exempted due to a fiscal note, the remainder of the bills that don't receive a hearing or a pass out of their respective committees, will be considered dead bills. 

Coming up this week

Monday, April 6 @ 3:15
  • AB278 requires 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.
  •  AB421 creates 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. 
  •  AB447 revises provisions relating to pupil achievement data used as a part of the statewide performance evaluation system, and the evaluation of teachers, administrators and other licensed personnel for the 2015-16 school year.
Tuesday, April 7 @ 3:30
  •  SB391 is 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.
  • SB461 provides for an individual graduation plan to allow certain pupils enrolled in a public high school to remain enrolled in high school for an additional period to work towards graduation.
  • SB463 revises provisions relating to student data security and protection.
  • SB504 amends provisions relating to a safe and respectful learning environment in public schools. This is a work session on SB504, which was heard earlier this week in a joint meeting of the Senate and Assembly Committees on Education. Many families testified to how bullying in school has affected their lives. HOPE is in full support of the passage of this bill.
Wednesday, April 8 @ 3:15
  •  AB349 would require principals to coordinate with teachers in developing class lesson plans that comply with academic standards.
  • AB374 would require counselors/education personnel to meet with students after their results are received from the ACT, to determine a path of college and/or career readiness and if remediation is needed.
  • AB378  would eliminate the Class-Size Reduction Program, create the Fund for Master Teachers (incentive pay for teachers program) and revise provisions relating to discipline, probation and discharge of teachers and administrators. 
Thursday, April 9 @ 3:30
  • SB411 is 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. 

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.

Follow Up

  • SB204 and SB504 were heard in the Joint Committees of Assembly and Senate Education. SB204 requires districts to provide assessment and counseling for suicide, allows a private cause of action against a school district, an employee or a volunteer for a breach of duty related to bullying, create safety plans for targets of bullying, and requires the Nevada Equal Rights Commission to establish policies and provide training. SB504 redefines bullying and adds deadlines for reporting incidents, notifying parents of an incident, and for investigating incidents. Mandates for disciplinary measures for failure to report, notify, or investigate by the deadlines are outlined. 
  • SB295 was heard in the Senate Committee on Education. SB295 focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) instruction across the state. The bill requires the Nevada Department of Education 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.
  • SB302 was heard in the Senate Committee on Education. SB302 would establish a program to allow per pupil money 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.
  • SB474 was heard in the Senate Committee on Education. SB474 establishes the Teaching and Leading Fund, one of Governor Sandoval’s  Education Initiatives. Regional Professional Development Programs (RPDP), school boards, charter schools, education associations, nonprofit organizations, and higher education institutions would be allowed to apply for grants to be used for professional development. HOPE submitted testimony in favor of this bill  to help recruit, develop and retain highly effective teachers and administrators.
  • AB303 was heard in the Assembly Committee on Education. AB303 would repeal the Nevada Academic Content Standards and the requirement that students pass current end-of-course examinations. 
  • AB394 was heard in the Assembly Committee on Education. AB394 is a bill that, if approved by the NVDOE, would allow cities in Clark County to break the Clark County School District into smaller  school precincts.  The legislation would also allow smaller districts in the rural areas of Nevada to consolidate if they so choose.   

On the radar
Educational bills worth mentioning

  • SB345 – Requires universal full-day Kindergarten in every public school, including charter schools. Kindergarten is not mandatory but all students would have access to it.
  • SB397 – This bill implements the proposed changes to the Nevada Plan, or weighted funding formula, for English Language Learners and Free and Reduced Lunch students.
  • SB424 – This bill 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.
  • SB429 – Makes a supplemental appropriation of $77.7 million to the State DSA from the State General Fund for a shortfall resulting from unanticipated increase in K-12 enrollment for the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 school years. Think of it as an I.O.U.
  • SB430Expands Zoom school program and the provision of programs and services to children who are limited English proficient in certain other schools.
  • 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.
  • SB491 – Provides a grant to recruit high-quality charter schools primarily for students below the Federal poverty line.
  • SB503 provides for the creation and implementation of the Breakfast After the Bell Program.
  • 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.
  • SCR1 – Creates an interim study concerning professional development of teachers and administrators during the 2015-2016 Interim. This was first heard on March 9th. It will likely not be heard again until the end of the session.
  • SCR6 – Proposes to study the current composition of school districts and the impact of redrawing district lines. This resolution was mentioned during the hearing of AB394, but it has not been agendized.

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!

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