Nevada candidates spar over education initiative |

Nevada candidates spar over education initiative

RENO (AP) – Gubernatorial candidates Jim Gibbons and Dina Titus are locking horns over Gibbons’ Education First initiative.

Titus, the state Senate minority leader from Las Vegas, said the plan misses what she thinks is the main problem of Nevada’s education system: inadequate funding.

The initiative, which would force state lawmakers to fund the public education first every session, was approved by Nevadans in 2004 and still needs voter approval in November to take effect.

“Well, let me tell you what: You can fund it first. But if (funding) is still inadequate, I don’t care what day or time you fund it, it is still inadequate,” said Titus, a Democrat.

Robert Uithoven, spokesman for Republican Congressman Gibbons, took exception to Titus’ criticism.

“It is disingenuous for Dina Titus to suggest that Education First is not important, especially considering it was supported by voters by a wide margin in 2004,” Uithoven said.

“We are confident that voters will support it in this year’s election, too,” he said.

Gibbons and Titus are leading their respective primaries, according to a recent statewide poll.

Titus unveiled her 14-point education plan Sunday at the Nevada State Education Association convention in Reno.

At the same time, Titus took swipes at Democrat Jim Gibson’s plan to get more parents and grandparents to volunteer in schools, and at Republican Bob Beers’ Tax and Spending Control for Nevada initiative.

Her education plan includes some items that were included in the platform Gibson unveiled last week in Las Vegas, including full-day kindergarten, substantial teacher raises and preserving the Millennium Scholarship program.

“If Dina Titus had read our plan before copying our pages to use in her plan, she would have known that our education program goes well beyond volunteer efforts,” Gibson spokesman Adam Candee said.

Among other proposals, Titus’ plan also calls for using some of the state surplus to help struggling school districts with costs of building new schools and maintaining older schools.

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