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Public Comment

Public Comment: Joint Interim Committee on Education 7.28.22

NSEA's public comments to the Joint Interim Committee on Education
Published: 07/28/2022

NSEA has consistently sounded the alarm about the dire educator shortage facing Nevada school districts heading into next school year. As reported this morning in the Nevada Independent, with back to school just over a week away for most Nevada students, we still have an unprecedented shortage of educators to teach our kids and make our schools run. This past year, we witnessed a spike in educator departures from the state or the profession with low worker morale. Meanwhile, hiring into these vacant positions has proven slow and difficult.

NSEA has been tracking vacant positions across Nevada school districts that total over 3000. Most alarming, CCSD alone lists over 2100 vacant positions, nearly as many as they listed a month ago. When kids go back to school a week from Monday, will there be a bus driver to pick them up or a teacher in their classroom?

We know this issue is not limited to Clark County. Washoe currently lists nearly 500 vacancies, and there are nearly 300 vacancies across Douglas, Nye, and Elko. 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.

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 retention bonuses are a nice gesture, but as prices are climbing faster than at any point in the last 40 years with CPI approaching 9%, 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.

As we heard from the Economic Forum last month, state revenue is 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!

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