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Governor wants expedited acceptance of Edujobs funding



officialgovernorjimgibbons_sm-214x300-7876321-7597822CARSON CITY — Governor Jim Gibbons is working to quickly facilitate the acceptance of one-time federal education funds to help Nevada’s school children. The U.S. Congress passed the “Edujobs” bill Tuesday, which provides one-time funding to save and/or create teaching jobs in public schools. The bill, signed by President Obama Tuesday evening, would provide $83 million to Nevada to create or maintain 1,400 teaching positions for school year 2010–2011.

“With both declining revenues and declining enrollment, Nevada’s K-12 schools have been hard hit, and our children are bearing the brunt of this economic downturn,” Gibbons said, “Though the federal funding is limited to one year, I have high hopes that we can use this money to directly deliver more education services to our children and grandchildren. I am working to see if we can capitalize on this one-time opportunity and make it work for Nevada and make a real difference for our children.”

Governor Gibbons had proposed eliminating class size reductions laws for primary grades because the mandated class sizes have never been fully funded by the Nevada Legislature or the funding that was legislatively approved was diverted by school districts to other uses. By accepting the one-time federal funds, Governor Gibbons hopes to experiment with full-funding of class size reduction for school year 2010-2011, which would enable Nevada to study whether class size reduction in primary grades truly impacts both student achievement and performance.

Governor Gibbons discussed the Edujobs bill by telephone Wednesday with Nevada State School Superintendent of Public Instruction Keith Rheault, and with the Superintendents of Clark and Washoe County School Districts – the two largest school districts in the state. Both Superintendent Walt Rulffes of Clark County and Superintendent Heath Morrison of Washoe County indicated their preference is to fund additional teaching positions to reduce class sizes in not only primary grades, but also in upper elementary grades and even in important areas such as high school mathematics. The Superintendents agreed that, though it appears the federal bill would allow funds to be used for such items as teacher raises, the most appropriate use of the one-time funding is to hire more teachers to provide direct services to students and to reduce class sizes.

“Nevada’s future depends on providing the best education possible for our children. We need to stop using education funds to pay for union dues and layers of bureaucracy. Our K-12 education funding is too precious to be used for anything other than educating our children,” Gibbons said.

Governor Gibbons also noted that the Edujobs bill is another example of Washington DC dictating to the states how local governments spend tax money, much like the Obamacare Nationalized Health Plan and the Stimulus Plan. “It is continued arrogance of the bureaucrats in the Reid/Obama Administration to believe that all 50 states have identical education needs,” Governor Gibbons said, “Congressional leaders should have given states like Nevada more leeway to spend this money. The way the law is written, school districts in Nevada are not allowed to spend the money on things they determine they need, such as new textbooks, student supplies, or computers. Under the new law, they MUST spend the Edujobs money on salaries.”

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