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Nevada Education Funding Reflects Student Needs, Not Bureaucratic Habit

Governor Steve Sisolak

Gov. Sisolak remarks at SB543 signing
Grant Sawyer Bldg, Las Vegas, NV

Good morning, and thank you all for being here. I’d like to thank Senator Joyce Woodhouse and Senator Mo Denis for their leadership on this incredibly consequential and complex legislation that will completely change the way we fund education in this state.

Nevada’s current education funding formula, known as the Nevada Plan, was put into place in 1967, more than 50 years ago. Nevada’s population is nearly seven times what it was back then, and Clark County alone was a fifth of its current size in terms of population.

Our school districts look much different today, not only in terms of population, but also in terms of demographics. It’s clear that Nevada’s current funding formula is no longer serving the needs of all students and educators, and it hasn’t been for many years. That’s why this session, we moved to overhaul Nevada’s decades-old funding formula to ensure that our education dollars are equitably distributed to our public schools and all of our students are getting their fair share.

Senate Bill 543 creates a new, modernized funding formula called the Pupil-Centered Funding Plan specifically named to reflect its design for our education dollars to follow the students and taxpayer dollars to be spent in a targeted manner to make sure all of Nevada’s children have access to a quality education.

The Pupil-Centered Funding Plan has four guiding principles: it was designed to be transparent, student-centered, classroom focused, and modernized to reflect geographic diversity.  Nevada’s K-12 education funding plan should be transparent, so it is clear to everyone how much money from multiple sources – state, local and federal – that Nevada is directing to K-12 education and how every dollar is being spent.
Each and every student in our state is unique and has different needs. The new funding plan is student-centered because it recognizes that there is a cost difference in each student’s path to a quality K-12 education, and it accounts for those differences in the allocation of resources.

The new plan is classroom-focused by placing more of our dollars with the student in the classroom.
And the new plan takes a modernized approach to education funding to reflect our state’s geographic diversity. Nevada is a vast state, and a one-size-fits-all solution will not adequately serve the needs of our students and educators.

It took a lot of work to get us here today, and I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish in such a short time. This is certainly the beginning, not the end, of an extremely consequential process, and I look forward to working with school districts and legislators in the interim as we implement this new funding plan.

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