Letter: chool funding is unacceptable
To the editor:
On March 28, approximately 300 concerned Douglas County parents, teachers and students converged upon the Nevada Legislature and its Assembly Education Committee to communicate the urgency of increased funding for our public schools. The cost of operating the school district increases each year, funding has stayed the same since 1999, and as the state mandates increased school standards, the quality of education is deteriorating. The governor’s budget does not provide for any increases in school funding for 2001-02.
Money for the schools comes from the state, not the county. The state of Nevada pays each county a flat $4,000 per year per student. Douglas County teachers’ salaries have increased 1 percent in the past two years, plus a 1 percent bonus, not even equaling increases in the consumer price index. The same is budgeted for the next two years. Staff health-care coverage is being reduced. Other states with shortages of teachers are recruiting Nevada’s best and brightest teachers with much higher pay, housing subsidies, signing bonuses and moving assistance. In a free market, these teachers may leave for more competitively valued compensation packages.
Whittell High School is having difficulty attracting highly-qualified applicants for its principal position, and the district cannot afford to hire a badly needed assistant principal. There are no advanced placement classes. Electives are limited by the number of teachers available to teach them. There are no funds for those nonacademic but important things like band trips. Routine maintenance, like keeping the heating going, replacing the roof and resurfacing the parking lot have to be juggled year to year until money is available.
The children are the future. The quality of our society and our economy depends on a well-educated workforce. Since the state has a monopoly on public education, it has a duty to fund it properly, and unfunded state mandates to the counties are unacceptable.
President, Whittell High School Boosters Club
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