The Washoe County School District’s budget could now be short at least $6.6 million each year over the next two years due to a funding formula outlined in Nevada Senate Bill 544.
The bill passed in the Assembly on Thursday and now heads to Governor Sandoval's desk. When asked on Thursday, Mari St. Martin with the Governor's Office said Governor Sandoval did not yet know if he would veto the bill.
Before the Assembly vote on Friday, Superintendent Traci Davis sent a press release detailing how, if passed, this education budget would leave her district millions short.
“We are currently working with the Nevada Department of Education to try and resolve this issue and we thank them for their willingness to problem-solve,” says Davis.
She says, “This funding shortfall is the result of a miscalculation. We strongly urge our families, parents and employees to reach out to their legislative representatives and the governor requesting that they correct the calculation error in this budget. We must provide a first class education to all of our 64,000 children and we need our community to advocate for fixing this oversight. This will be decided in the next three days – by the end of the legislative session – and we ask the community to stand up for education in the strongest possible way. To find your legislative representatives and their contact information, visit leg.state.nv.us or call the governor’s office at 775-684-5670 or email him.
“If we must face this additional, last minute, and significant budget cut, we will immediately start a thoughtful process on how to address it, considering all options. We must create a balanced budget within the allotment received by the legislature. However, this unexpected and lower funding level leaves us with no avenue to address this unexpected situation except to make even more painful cuts to the critical programs and expenses designed to increase student success. Examples of these include additional central office cuts, extracurricular activities like athletics, music and arts, additional class size increases, a reduction in bus service, and possibly other staff layoffs.
"It is incredibly disappointing that, once again, we are placed in a position of not being able to adequately support our students, classroom teachers and all of our dedicated support staff. Unfortunately our students are caught in the middle of this crisis and we will be aggressively pursuing all avenues possible to support them and our staff."
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(Washoe County School District contributed to this report.)