Nevada Governor Brian E. Sandoval proposed raising taxes to support a sweeping set of education initiatives he said will modernize the state’s lagging K-12 school system.
Gov. Sandoval’s proposals, which were, will cost an estimated $430 million over the next two years. He proposed changing some business license fees and using the proceeds to pay for the education programs. The governor also proposed making some temporary taxes permanent.
The Republican governor’s ambitious K-12 plans touch every aspect of the school system, from expanding pre-K, reforming collective bargaining, overhauling the way the state funds its schools, and continuing tax credits for businesses that give scholarships to allow at-risk students to attend private schools.
The plans include: $20 million in matching funds to encourage successful charter schools to expand; $36 million in grants to social workers as part of an anti-bullying effort; around $30 million to support literacy programs; nearly $50 million to put a digital device in the hands of every middle school student and expand technology programs; and more than $20 million for the expansion of stem and career and technical education in high schools. He also proposed $50 million to help students in the state’s impoverished schools.
The governor plans to create an achievement school district that will take over and run the state’s persistently failing schools, which comprise about 10 percent of the state’s schools. Former Washoe County Superintendent Pedro Martinez will become the superintendent-in-residence in the state education department and will head up the effort.
Gov. Sandoval also wants to change state law to allow school board members to be appointed and to audit the state’s countywide school district system to determine whether it is the most efficient.
A version of this article appeared in the January 29, 2015 edition of Education Week as Nevada Eyes Tax Hike for Schools