Unfortunately, there is no sugarcoating it. The state of public education is dire. For decades, Nevada has ranked near the bottom of states in education funding and quality. Now with the additional challenges of the last two years, we have an unprecedented shortage of educators to teach our kids and make our schools run.
As presented to the Interim Education Committee last week, educator departures from the Clark County School District this year hit record levels. CCSD alone lists over 2100 vacant positions, with 1500 of those licensed. Nevada needs bold action to address this crisis. It’s time to adequately fund public education in Nevada. It’s time to respect and retain our experienced educators. It’s Time for 20.
As you consider moving $200M today to address the impacts of “learning loss”, we would ask you consider even bolder action to address the impact of “educator loss” in our schools.
The operational impacts of the educator shortage in Nevada will make it impossible for schools to deliver adequate education, no less doing that while catching students up from the past 2 years.
Time for 20 means a 20% increase in educator pay and at least $20/hour for the workers who make our school run. Time for 20 means reaching an average class size of 20 students. This is the right-sized response to our educator shortage and would get educators the pay they need to make ends meet. One-time (heavily taxed) retention bonuses are a nice gesture, but as prices are climbing faster than at any point in the last 40 years with CPI now at 8.3%, Nevada needs to get serious about raises for educators that keep up with the long-term cost of living. Even when inflation comes down, prices and the cost of living almost always continue to go up.
In addition to unspent Rescue Plan dollars, the Economic Forum received a report from the fiscal analysis division showing state revenue outperforming projections by 25%, or close to $800M. This news comes as our education system is hemorrhaging staff. Educators and our students need bold action, and Nevada has the resources to make a big impact right now. It’s Time for 20!