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Education funding cuts to be protested

Sara Thompson
Cathleen Allison / Nevada AppealNevada Gov. Jim Gibbons and Director of Administration Andrew Clinger talk Friday about state budget cuts. The governor announced that cuts would be extended to public education but would be reduced across the board from 8 percent to 4.5 percent.
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Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons has proposed cutting more than $96 million from Nevada’s education fund.

To protest the cuts, Nevadans for Quality Education, along with the Parent Teachers Association, will hold candlelight vigils today.

Holly Luna, director of business services for Douglas County School District, said she won’t know until Thursday how the proposed cuts will affect the schools at Lake Tahoe.

Originally, the cuts weren’t going to touch the funding for kindergarten through 12th grade. Now, 4.5 percent might be cut from that funding, but no one has stated specifically what is being cut, she said. It could be from the general pool or from certain items, but people can only guess at this point.

George Whittell High School Prinicipal Sue Shannon said the 4.5 percent cut could come from anywhere, even from the Empowerment Program.

The high school received a $10,000 planning grant in October for the program, which would bring more online classes into the school, along with distance learning, and students would be able to enroll in more classes at LTCC. These solutions would offer certain classes and electives that now aren’t available because of the small number of teachers.

The school would receive another grant for the implementation of the program, but it’s now dependent on the governor’s proposed cuts.

This wouldn’t be the only hardship for the school district. Because of declining enrollment at Lake Tahoe, the Douglas County School District had to close a school to consolidate students. Current plans are for Kingsbury Middle School to close after this year, with students being moved to Zephyr Cove Elementary School and George Whittell High School.

Cuts to education funding also are expected in California.

In the Lake Tahoe Unified School District, Director of Business Services Debra Yates said cuts are anticipated, but she doesn’t know what California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will do. On Jan. 14, she will know potential budget reductions recommended by the governor, but nothing will be set in stone until September, when the Legislature approves the state budget.

“We’re all on pins and needles until September,” Yates said.

Typically, the Legislature won’t cut anything greater than what the governor recommends, she said.

According to a Los Angeles Times article, the governor reported the 2008-09 state budget deficit will reach $14 billion. Yates said with a huge deficit, it would be unreasonable to not expect cuts in education.


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