CATESOL News From the Nevada Legislature

May 19th, 2015 | By | Category: Advocacy, Chapters, Nevada, News
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Lonnie Shields

By LONNIE SHIELDS

—The Economic Forum presented its report to the Nevada Legislature on May 1, 2015. It found Nevada’s economic outlook to be strong and agreed with Governor Sandoval that it would require a substantial tax increase to fund his plans for education in Nevada.

The legislature is busy closing state budgets and it is basing them on the suggested increases in spending that were proposed by the governor. This is interesting because, as of yet, there is no tax plan in place on which these increases would be paid.

Senate Finance passed out the ZOOM school-funding proposals with just very small changes from what the governor proposed. (ZOOM schools are designated schools with high ELL populations that have been chosen for additional funding and programs to improve instruction.) There will be a cap on the funds that will be available for professional development, administrative costs, and parent involvement. These will be set at 2% of the total funds available. This funding will result in a $10 million investment in ELL funding each year of the biennium.

Funding for the Regional Professional Development Centers has also passed out of Senate Finance. They are being restructured and will go to a grant process in which each district must apply for the professional-development programs it wishes to pursue. An amendment was added to the bill that will protect our professional-development programs in our smaller counties.

We are hopeful at this stage that major changes to the Public Employee Retirement System will not occur. This is an area we must watch closely so nothing is done to damage the system in last-minute maneuvering by certain legislators.

We are all hopeful that the session will end on time on June 2, but it would be a first. More likely, we will go through several special sessions to conclude an acceptable tax plan. The interesting point here is that although each house of the legislature has its own tax plan, they both call for tax increases in the amounts needed to fund the governor’s budget.

If you have any questions I can be reached at Lonnie.shields@yahoo.com.

Lonnie Shields is CATESOL’s legislative advocate in Nevada.

 

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