Governor to Add $120 Million to Ed Budget - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Governor Sandoval to Add $120 Million to Education Budget

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With just 20 days left in this legislative session, Governor Brian Sandoval is announcing last-minute tweaks to his proposed budget.

Governor Sandoval said in an interview with Channel 2, based on economic projections for the next two years, he was able to add an extra $120 million to his education plan.

That includes $39.5 million more for decreasing class sizes in Kindergarten through third grade, and an additional $21 million for English Language Learners programs. That's the first time money has been specifically earmarked for ELL in a Nevada governor's budget.

The budget also includes increases in funding for the Millennium scholarship, Teach For America, Jobs for America's Graduates, and an expansion of all-day Kindergarten.

The total comes to $483.9 million more for education than in the last biennium, which brings Nevada's per-pupil spending up by about five percent.

The issue though, is how to pay for it.

Governor Sandoval said, based on the predictions in the economic forecast, Nevada's growth over the next two years will cause the state's income to grow naturally, accommodating these spending increases without a tax increase.

"Nevada, although it is improving, I don't think it's a good time to be taxing people," the governor said.

Democrats in the legislature disagree with that standpoint, saying a modest tax increase is necessary to properly fund programs like education.

Assembly Democrats released a statement in response to the governor's plan, saying in part:

"While we welcome any funding for education, it is disappointing that the Republicans would rather continue to underfund education and stonewall any attempts at real revenue discussion."

The governor is also supporting Senate Bill 445, which would give tax breaks to businesses that donate to private school scholarship funds. This would allow more low-income students to attend private schools if they chose.

Opponents say a move like that would hurt the public school system, diverting money from public schools, which get funded based on their head count.

Governor Sandoval responded that it would just encourage healthy competition.

Written by Arianna Bennett
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