This special edition of Ed Watch provides a recap of 2019 legislative actions related to education, plus some of our reflections on key bills that will impact students and schools.
What is the Nevada Legislature and what is it responsible for?
The Nevada Legislature is a public body comprised of elected leaders from communities across the State. Their purpose is to enact laws and regulations for the State of Nevada. Nevada has a citizen legislature, which means that legislators are not career politicians, but rather regular citizens who are dedicated to all citizens of Nevada. There are 21 Senators and 42 Assembly representatives. Nevada made history during the 2019 legislative session as the first state in the United States to have a majority-female legislature.
When does the Nevada Legislature meet?
Regular sessions of the Nevada Legislature are held every other year (in odd-numbered years). They convene on the first Monday in February after the election of members of the Senate and Assembly. Sessions are limited to 120 calendar days. If the legislature is to meet outside of the regularly scheduled session, it is called a special session and can be called to action by the Governor or by a two-thirds vote by legislators from each house.
The 80th Session of the Nevada Legislature began on February 4, 2019, and ended at 12:15am on June 4, 2019.
In addition to their ongoing representational duties, members of the legislature are also involved in committee work between sessions. These committees hold public hearings, direct research, and deliberate on proposed legislation for the next session of the legislature.
Three (3) Bills We Look Forward to Seeing in Action:
1.) Student Centered Funding Formula (Senate Bill 543)
The Student Centered Funding Formula was developed to replace the 52 year old Nevada Plan. The Nevada Plan is the approach by which the legislature allocates and distributes funds to School Districts across the state.
The new formula:
- Takes into consideration the diverse needs of students and the costs to educate them
- Requires detailed reporting by all public schools, therefore increasing transparency
- Ensures that money allocated to education stays in education, rather than reverting back to the general fund
What we look forward to the most about SB543: The Student Centered Funding Formula brings Nevada an important step closer to equity and greater transparency.
Thank you Senators Denis, Woodhouse, and Cannizzaro for all your hard work on this!
Traditionally, public charter school contracts were executed and considered for renewal over six year terms. This new legislation gives public charter school authorizers the discretion to consider contract renewals anywhere between three and ten years.
What we look forward to the most about SB451: By providing authorizers a wider window to consider public charter contract renewals– they can continue to focus on holding schools accountable to their results with students.
3.) Public Charter School Growth Management Plan (Assembly Bill 462)
The State Public Charter School Authority (SPCSA) has been tasked with creating a growth management plan for new and expanding public charter schools in Nevada. This legislation requires school districts and authorizers to work together to ensure that schools are located in areas of greatest need.
What we look forward to the most about AB462: The evolution of this bill was responsive to community needs, and allows the opportunity to add more great public schools where they are needed most.
Additional Bills that Impact K-12 Public Education:
Assembly Bills (AB)
AB64 Adjusts funding for students who reside in a school district but attend online schools.
AB78 Abolishes the Achievement School District (ASD), and requires charter schools approved by the ASD to convert to sponsorship by the State Public Charter School Authority (SPCSA). Also provides two new members to the SPCSA board, appointed by the Nevada State Board of Education.
AB88 Extends the deadline for reports about average daily enrollment.
AB92 Expands the duties of the English Mastery Council to include students who are not English language learners, but who score at or below the 25th percentile in English Language Arts.
AB114 Requires the reporting of information about courses and trainings related to suicide, attempted suicide, and suicidal ideation by students to the Department of Education.
AB136 Eliminates the requirement to set a prevailing wage for public works and other construction projects of school districts and the Nevada System of Higher Education at 90 percent of the rate of prevailing wage on other public works in the applicable county.
AB156 Requires a court to appoint an educational decision maker for any child that is in need of protection.
AB168 Requires a school to provide a plan of action based on restorative justice before expelling a student, and prohibits students from being suspended or expelled in certain circumstances.
AB196 Provides incentives for teachers at Title I schools and schools that are designated as underperforming.
AB205 Requires the establishment of an integrated pest management policy for controlling pests and weeds on school district property.
AB219 Accountability measures to schools and districts for English Language Learner instruction and student achievement.
AB244 Authorizes the Board of Trustees of a school district to establish an advisory committee to recommend the imposition of a property tax to fund capital projects of the school district.
AB258 Authorizes a student or his/her parent or guardian to submit a complaint to the Department of Education if a district or charter school is not in compliance with decisions made during due-process hearing (as related to the student’s right to a free and appropriate education).
AB261 Requires the Board of Trustees for each school district to report training for teachers and administrators about the personal safety of children and incidents of abuse.
AB276 Creates the Nevada State Teacher Recruitment and Retention Advisory Task Force to address the challenges with attracting and retaining teachers throughout Nevada.
AB289 Revises provisions to the retention of students enrolled in grade 3 to require services and instruction; revises plans to improve the literacy of students; and revises provisions on teachers who teach in a public elementary school.
AB304 Requires plans of action that school districts will take to reduce class sizes.
AB309 Declares the intent of the Legislature to account for all state and local financial aid to public schools and express the total per student support for public schools. Requires school districts to increase the salaries of teachers and classified employees, and authorizes a new sales and use tax for the benefit of schools.
AB331 Creates the Outdoor Education and Recreation Grant Program.
AB378 Requires management crisis plans to include responding to students with mental illness.
AB340 Authorizes health care professionals to issue an order for an opioid antagonist to a public or private school for the treatment of an opioid-related drug overdose that may be experienced by any person at the school.
AB342 Allows children of active military personnel who transfer schools to participate and practice in sanctioned sports or other interscholastic events.
AB464 Requires the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association to allow students who attended school in another country as a foreign exchange student to participate in a sanctioned sport.
AB490 Requires each public school to collect and report data on the discipline of students in the school.
Senate Bills (SB)
SB41 Eliminates the special qualifications license to teach, and revises provisions related to the granting of additional licenses to teachers.
SB57 Makes a blueprint of a public school confidential, except under court order.
SB80 Establishes the Handle with Care program, which focuses on providing safe and respectful learning environments.
SB84 Establishes a program to award grants to school districts, charter schools and nonprofit organizations to support prekindergarten programs.
SB89 Requires a school safety specialist to be designated for each public school and revises provisions related to safe and respectful learning environments (plans for crisis, emergency or suicide). The bill also covers student achievement and intervention plans for ensuring student success.
SB100 Requires the Commission to expedite applications for a license to teach in Nevada by the spouse of a member of the Armed Forces of the United States who is on active duty– if they have completed an alternative route to licensure program either in Nevada or another state.
SB111 Revises the percentage of the budgeted ending fund balance of certain local governments that is excluded from collective bargaining negotiations; states that any money given by the State for increases in salary or benefits are subject to negotiation.
SB126 Repeals provisions that require a post-probationary administrator to apply for reappointment to their administrative position every 5 years. No longer entitles an administrator who is not reappointed to be assigned to his or her former position.
SB147 Requires each public school to identify whether a student is homeless, unaccompanied or lives in foster care to review and adjust the student’s academic plan to maximize credits and progress towards graduation.
SB159 Requires every school to follow rules for safe sun exposure.
SB185 Updates provisions for school volunteers who must be fingerprinted to only include those who will be unsupervised with children.
SB193 Financial assistance for educational programs relating to history, law and civics.
SB202 Requires an annual reporting of information on students with disabilities and their guardians. Approves a study regarding the process for evaluating children with autism.
SB204 Requires every school in Nevada to create policies related to suicide prevention, and requires plans to be put in place for students who are at a high risk of suicide.
SB231 Schools will pay full prevailing wage for construction needs.
SB239 Requires the victim of a reported bullying or cyberbullying incident to be given priority and authorizes an extension of the time required to conduct an investigation.
SB267 Requires the Department of Education, a Board of Trustees, a governing body, and the staff of a school to consider social and environmental factors that affect the educational experience of students when making decisions that will impact the school.
SB295 Creates the Nevada National Guard Youth Challenge Program.
SB296 Gives an individual with a teaching license from another country the ability to teach in Nevada.
SB313 Requires the Department of Education to develop and make available resources for providing instruction in computer science to students in all grades.
SB314 Establishes the requirements for earning a State Seal of Financial Literacy.
SB319 Defines and establishes the roles of a school counselor, psychologist and social worker employed by a school district.
SB320 Requires the State Board of Education to adopt regulations that require each public school to establish and carry out a plan to identify students in grades 3-12 for placement in more challenging courses in core academic subjects (math, English, Science and social studies).
SB321 Abolishes the Achievement School District and transfers contracts to the State Public Charter School Authority.
SB332 Directs the Legislative Committee on Education to conduct an interim study on safe and respectful learning environments that are free of bullying, cyber-bullying, and discriminatory harassment.
SB402 Creates and supports programs that raise funds for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning in the classroom.
SB414 Increases the number of annual recipients of the Kenny C. Guinn Memorial Millennium Scholarship from two to four. This scholarship is for college seniors who are committed to teaching in Nevada after graduating.
SB441 Establishes separate regulation of online charter schools.
SB453 Increases the grade point average (GPA) requirement for the Governor Guinn Millennium Scholarship Program to at least 2.75.
SB485 Limits the number of days of instruction per year for which a hospital or facility is entitled to reimbursement to the number of days of instruction in one school year.
SB505 Money from the State General Fund will be given to the Office of Finance for an adjustment to school districts affected by the district of residence issue.
SB520 Allocates funds to the State Distributive School Account for an unanticipated increase in K-12 enrollment for the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years.
SB523 Creates a supplemental appropriation to the Department of Education for an unanticipated shortfall in personnel services expenditures for literacy programs.
SB549 Requires the use of an assessment implemented by the Department to determine the number of students in a school that will need funds from the Account for the New Nevada Education Funding Plan.
SB555 Distributive Schools Account budget bill. Ensures sufficient funding for K-12 public education for the 2019-2021 biennium.
SB324 Authorizes money in the special revenue fund to be disbursed to a teacher in multiple ways.
SB403 Requires public and private schools to provide information to a student or their legal guardian before providing them with technology or before allowing them to use a school service.
SB458 Allocates money to nonprofit organizations so they can provide for the creation and maintenance of programs that provide school gardens, including hydroponic gardens, for Title I schools.
SB467 Extends the duration of the Zoom and Victory schools program.
SB469 Clarifies that the large school district remains responsible for utilities, and authorizes a school associate superintendent to oversee more than 25 local school precincts.
SB475 Updates regulations around teacher evaluations.
SB545 Requires that the money from the tax on each retail sale of marijuana or marijuana products be deposited in the State Distributive School Account in the State General Fund instead of the Rainy Day Fund.