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Legislative Memo

NSEA Opposes SB439 – Not the Fix Nevada Needs

Senate Bill 439, trailing legislation for Senate Bill 543, was introduced on the 99th Day of the 81st Legislation Session and is not the fix Nevada needs.
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Published: 05/10/2021

Two years ago, SB543 was developed behind closed doors, wasn’t introduced until the 99th day of the session, and had but a single public hearing with the bill passing minutes before Sine Die. Today, on the 99th day of this session, SB439 was introduced with less fanfare, but it was also developed behind closed doors, without even a preview of its content.

The new funding plan will fail, because it was never built to succeed.

Ever since the introduction of SB543 two years ago, NSEA has expressed policy concerns at every opportunity—the lack of educator voice; no new revenue; watering down Zoom and Victory schools; freezing and squeezing school district budgets; a giveaway to charter schools; and undoing the rules of collective bargaining.

SB439 fails to address a single issue raised by educators, showing its backers to be unserious about delivering a funding plan to benefit all Nevada students.

Nevada ranks 48th among states in education funding, yet the new funding plan includes no new funding. While the Funding Commission has recommended a 10-year plan for Nevada to increase education funding by $2B per year, SB439, the supposed fix to 543, completely ignores these recommendations. Meanwhile, SB439 further moves Nevada backward by proposing to strike language in the NRS that references merit salary increases and cost of living adjustments.

If the Legislature is intent on moving forward with the implementation of the new funding formula, NSEA recommends making three changes to ensure the new plan does significantly less harm to Nevada’s students and educators.

  1. First, grandfather existing Zoom and Victory Schools, located in Nevada’s poorest communities, serving the highest percentage of at-risk students, and proven models of education equity.
  2. Second, hold districts truly harmless by using the greater of 2020 total budget or per-pupil amount by district, adjusted by the inflationary costs of doing business.
  3. Finally, remove anti-union language that increases the district ending fund balance walled off from collective bargaining to 16.6%, to preserve the collective bargaining process.

Please listen to educators. Any trailing legislation that does not bring new revenue or address these serious policy concerns is doomed to fail Nevada educators and students.

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NSEA has been the voice of educators for over 120 years. We represent teachers, education support professionals, and other licensed professionals throughout the state of Nevada.