NSEA is calling on the Legislature to grandfather Zoom and Victory Schools, Nevada’s model programs of education equity, by not transferring funding for the programs to the new State Education Funding Account.
Budget 2615, NDE’s School Remediation Trust Fund proposes transferring funds from Zoom and Victory Schools to the State Education Funding Account. Under SB543, these funds are to be used as student weights, taken from Nevada’s most impacted schools and spread out across the state, including to schools in higher-income areas.
While districts will be required to provide from a menu of services related to current Zoom and Victory programs, Zoom and Victory Schools will receive significantly less money for these services and will not be able to maintain the current level of services for students to continue their success. With reduced funding, the current model will be watered-down and compromised.
With the shift from a school-based approach to a pupil-centered approach, Zoom and Victory schools lose significant momentum on school climate and culture, jeopardizing the gains made in our most impacted schools. Meanwhile, language in SB543 limiting the application of student weights to an either/or approach runs counter to educational best practice that recognizes our most impacted students fall into multiple categories of weights and require much greater investment than provided by any single weight in SB543. This need is greater for students in communities that are beset with serious, intractable social and economic issues.
Backers of SB543 claimed the new funding formula was all about equity. If that were true, we wouldn’t already be hearing pleas from leaders in Zoom and Victory schools about the impact of budget cuts next school year. Zoom and Victory schools are located in Nevada’s poorest communities, serve the highest percentage of at-risk students, and are proven models of education equity. Unfortunately, due to the shift of funds in SB543, they are also the schools facing some of the largest budget cuts.
This is inequity, and the legislature should right this wrong by stopping this transfer and grandfathering Nevada’s Zoom and Victory Schools.