(Todd “Taxpayer” Bailey) – Recently, the Governor of the State of Nevada put forward several proposals that will change the way education is delivered in the state. While many claim that these are simply the desperate moves of a politician seeking re-election, I can assure you that the conversation regarding these issues goes far beyond the Governor’s office.
In fact, the elected leaders who so often claim they are supporters of education have refused to even discuss these issues, which may have contributed to the economic situation the State of Nevada finds itself in today. Applying simple economics, built in annual inflation and the protection of special interests has cost the State of Nevada a great deal, and the results are unsatisfactory.
The State of Nevada, and therefore education, is going to be restructured to meet the growing challenge of our times. Before this begins, it’s important to have all the facts, with so many new eager minds entering the Nevada Legislature in 2011, now is the time to begin the discussion.
As the experts in Washoe County, it is your responsibility to provide the information needed to make thoughtful decisions. Do not wait for the legislative request in 2011, start working on the answers NOW! Those new members will be prepared to act.
1. Washoe County School District Board Members and executives have often complained in public meetings about partially funded or unfunded mandates from the state, so does the Governor’s Empowerment proposals that would remove such mandates help?
2. How would the ELIMINATION of Collective Bargaining (N.R.S. 288) affect the classroom? How would this affect teachers? How would it affect taxpayers?
3. Classroom overcrowding is a very important to parents and taxpayers.
There is a claim that “class size reduction” is an important part of the education system in Nevada, however, that may be a myth. A significant number of elementary classrooms have more than 20 children, and so the taxpayer dollars are being used for STUDENT RATIO REDUCTION, not class size reduction. This was a mistake and has generated the community distrust that makes additional resources difficult.
Please provide three different studies that show the benefits of STUDENT RATIO REDUCTION, as that is what is being practiced, not class size reduction.
Would the Governor’s proposal for enrollment caps and school vouchers to provide more choice to parents help achieve the “stated” goal of “class size reduction”? How many elementary schools have classrooms with more than 20 children, regardless of the number of teachers, and how many classrooms in those schools are over 20 children? Is there a waiver?
4. How does the Nevada State Board of Education help Washoe County School District? Please provide three specific examples over the last 24 months. How has the Nevada State Board of Education restricted or hindered Washoe County School District in delivering education over the last 24 months?
5. How would the ELIMINATION of the “statutory requirement or state mandate” for full-day kindergarten harm Washoe County School District?
This would still be an option for taxpayers to choose through local school districts, and funding available through an adjusted level in the Distributive School Account that the state uses to fund education, it would simply remove the “mandate”, again something Washoe County School District has often publicly requested, the removal of state and federal mandates.
6. What is the “hold harmless provision in school funding”? Please ask the Washoe County School District CFO to provide a report on how this has affected the budget for the past five years. If this provision was eliminated, how would that affect the budget of Washoe County School District? How would it affect the classroom, and the students? How would it affect taxpayers?
7. What would be the effect of using student test scores to evaluate teachers?
I DO NOT support this proposal, and believe it would be counter productive, taking efficiency to the point of diminishing returns, a luxury we can not afford. Changing state law for a bribe from Washington D.C. is Socialism, and should not be allowed in Nevada, it’s not leadership.
8.Washoe County School District is considering a ballot question in 2010 to extend the bonding capacity of Washoe County School District for an additional 10 years. This borrowed money would be used for technology in the classroom, the revitalization of older schools, and the construction of a new administration facility. It’s time to open this discussion up to a wider public audience.
Please provide a list of ALL proposals from all participants on how this bonding capacity might be used for the period of authorization. Please also provide an explanation of what would happen if the bonding capacity was not renewed, and how this would affect students, staff, and taxpayers.
Million Dollar Secret: Reduce the tax by a small amount and publicly ask other entities not to take it. Should Washoe County Should District utilize this suggestion and win, a consulting fee of $99 to me will be donated to the school of my choice.
I appreciate the opportunity to bring these issues to your attention. There is one outstanding difference between myself, and the other candidates seeking the office of Nevada Senate District 4. All of us have an opinion on education, and while I’m no expert on education, I know where to find them in Washoe County. Thank you, and good luck (I’m being serious)!
(Mr. Bailey is a Republican candidate for state Senate District 4 in Washoe County)