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Business & Community Leaders Launch K-12 Funding Campaign

The Empower Nevada’s Future Campaign Kicks off With Statewide Petition

February 23, 2021

Las Vegas, NV - A statewide group of business, education and community leaders announced the launch of the Empower Nevada’s Future campaign to put pressure on lawmakers to set goals to at least fund public schools students at the national per pupil average.

The launch, which kicked off a petition of signatures that will be sent to legislators included speakers from Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada, Educate Nevada Now, Empower Nevadas Teachers, Nevada PTA, Nevadans for the Common Good and a high school principal.

For too long Nevada’s funding for education and our public education rankings have discouraged new companies from investing in our state. Addressing this issue starts with acknowledging that the future of our state and our economy starts with an educated workforce and the investment in our system to get this done. We must ensure that our students have the tools they need to succeed in the 21st-century jobs that are growing here and coming to our state.” said Mike Kazmierski, President of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada.

The press conference included an analysis highlighting the need for a commitment to resources to make the new K-12 funding formula (Pupil Centered Funding Plan) function successfully and also highlighted the major challenges schools will face without additional funding. The group also announced the reveal of a billboard between Reno International Airport and Carson City (Photo Attached) meant to be visible to state leadership during the 81st Nevada Legislative Session.

Calen Evans, a teacher at the Washoe County School District and President of the Empower Nevada Teachers coalition, discussed the growing concerns for schools.

“We’ve seen our classroom size grow significantly, our pay doesn’t keep up with the cost of living and the strain on teachers is getting to a significant level where teachers continue to leave the profession while fewer young people want to take on that role, “ Evans said. “We want to provide our educators with a quality work environment which in turn translates into a quality education that our students deserve.”

Nevada ranks 49th in Finance per Quality Counts, 49th in Kids Chance for Success and consistently receives an F in the Nation’s Report Card in funding levels, distribution and effort.

“It is disheartening to know that our students have the largest class sizes in the country, don’t have the resources they need to succeed and are having to start their adult lives academically behind the rest of the nation,” said Reverend Paul Hansen, Leader with Nevadans for the Common Good. “It is our responsibility as a society to look after our youth as one day it will be their responsibility to look after us. We fully support efforts to give them a quality education, our students deserve it and we owe it to them.”

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