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Funding formula funneled to Nevada students with high needs

Reported by: Sandra Gonzalez
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Updated: 7/01/2014 11:03 pm

LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Some education leaders are calling Monday historic, as future funding has been determined to help Nevada students with extra needs.

The Nevada Plan has been around since 1967, but Nevada's demographics have drastically changed over the past 47 years. That's why education leaders have been working on a new funding formula to ensure there is extra money for those who with the highest challenges.

UNLV Law Professor Sylvia Lazos says the English Language Learner program is already in crisis.

"When we're 49th in terms of graduation rates, and in our reading proficiencies for ELL children are below special ed children by the time they get to eighth grade," Lazos said.

Members of a Task Force on K-12 Education Funding approved recommendations including:

A weight of 1.5 be applied for ELL students and At-Risk children, meaning those who live in poverty.

A 2.0 weight will be applied for students with disabiliities.

The proposed formula is meant to adjust to provide more money to help these children succeed.

Nevada State Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis says it is a way to make education more equitable.

"It became painstakingly clear that we are underfunding education in Nevada and we need to do something about it," Denis said.

"Not a perfect answer but it is very definitely a positive step forward," said State Senator Joyce Woodhouse who heads the legislative education committee.

For the fifth largest school district in the country with a very large ELL population, school board president Erin Cranor says the proposed weights are vital.

"It's a targeted investment in getting those barriers out of the way that right now are keeping us from seeing that human potential that our students have to succeed," Cranor said.

These recommendations on a new funding formula will be forwarded to the governor's office and the legislature to be considered during the next legislative session. If it passes during the next session, it would gradually be implemented over the course of four years starting in 2018.



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