Legislative Session Proves Successful for Governor Sandoval - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Legislative Session Proves Successful for Governor Sandoval

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The 78th legislative session is in the books, with lawmakers adopting most of Governor Brian Sandoval's policies, including his spending plan. Sandoval had five specific bills that he wanted passed, and the legislature delivered. They include increased funding for breakfast in classrooms.  Teachers will now qualify for performance-based pay. A bill fighting bullying in schools also passed. Another, encourages someone to call for help if a friend is overdosing, by protecting them from punishment. And finally, a bill that ensures veterans are getting the benefits they've earned.

Most of Sandoval's education reforms also passed. The budget will allow more money for the Gifted and Talented program and STEM curriculum. More money is being added to English language programs. The state is offering Opportunity Scholarships, so at-risk students can attend private schools. Additional funding will help students in the poorest areas of the state.

"Children who live in poverty or children who are English language learners or children with a disability are disadvantaged and they don't graduate or they graduate without the skills they need to succeed in life," Dale Erquiaga, State Superintendent of Public Instruction said.

"Ready by 21" is a program that increases spending on technology, offering digital devices to middle school students. Every school will have All-Day Kindergarten to help students learn to read by third grade. Charter schools will get more funding and an education savings account will be created to offer a $5,000 credit for private school or distance learning, like online courses.

"This is mom and dad's money that we're putting into our school system and into our children's lives," Erquiaga said. "So really, for the first time in Nevada, mom and dad have control over where they want to invest their money."

"We have gone from limited school choice to one of the best school choice states in the nation in one session," Assemblyman Paul Anderson, R-District 13 said.

Education was the focal point of this session, but other funding will also be available. After years of planning, a $46 million veterans home will be built in Sparks. The state will pay $14.1 million, which is 35% of the cost.

"We're making investments in education, in our seniors, investments in our veterans and it's really important that we made this vote," Teresa Benitez-Thompson, D-District 27 said. "It had to happen."

About $100 million will go towards higher education. That includes the creation of a medical school and construction of a new hotel school at UNLV.

Perhaps Sandoval's biggest victory was getting his $1.1 billion tax increase passed, that allowed so many reforms.
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