by Sean Whaley, Nevada News Bureau: Underdog Democratic candidate for governor Rory Reid took the opportunity at a first debate today with leading GOP candidate Brian Sandoval to challenge his opponent’s commitment to spending on public education.
In his opening remarks, Reid said he has a plan to erase a $2.5 billion shortfall it the state budget without cutting education. Sandoval would cut education and lay off teachers, he said.
Sandoval, leading by double-digits in the polls, parried Reid’s attacks, saying his proposals, including given parents the choice to send their children to private schools with public funding, would not result in teacher layoffs.
Sandoval said Reid’s budget plan would cut education despite his comments to the contrary.
The one-hour debate in Las Vegas, held at the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy and broadcast statewide, did not appear to produce any serious political gain for either of the two major party candidates.
Reid emphasized his experience as chairman of the Clark County Commission, saying he has balanced budgets as big as Nevada’s for eight years without raising taxes.
“Strength and consistency is what Nevada needs in its next governor,” he said.
Sandoval said his credentials as a lawmaker, gaming regulator, attorney general and federal judge, and said Nevada’s public education needs a shakeup.
“We need to do something tough, we need to challenge the system, we need to shake up the status quo,” he said.
Both candidates talked up their ideas of giving principals, teachers and parents more power over how to spend tax dollars in the classroom as ways to improve student performance and get more mileage out of the state’s public education investment.
Sandoval said he would achieve local control by using block grants to schools to let them decide how best to spend their limited dollars.
Reid said his proposal would be to let parents take their kids out of failing schools and enrollment them in successful public schools. He called his plan true choice.
“I provide real choice, not the false choice Brian’s plan calls for,” he said.
Reid attacked Sandoval on his support of private school vouchers saying it would take $100 million from public schools to fund the private education of those who could afford it.
In response, Sandoval said choice would create competition and improve education.
Not surprisingly, both camps claimed victory immediately after the debate.
The Reid camp said in part: “If elected in November, Brian Sandoval will continue Jim Gibbons’ shameful legacy of taking money from our children’s classrooms to supplement the state budget. Brian Sandoval does not consider education a priority. Brian Sandoval does not understand the simple fact that we will never get out of this economic slump and draw new industry until we have good schools.”
Sandoval’s commented: “My education plan is a bold approach to challenging the status quo. We must end the social promotion of our children, end teacher tenure and give parents choices to seek the best possible education for their children. It’s time to get serious about reform. Our children deserve nothing less.”
Rory Reid says Brian Sandoval budget plan would cut public education:
Brian Sandoval says he has plan to shake up public education system:
Reid says Sandoval voucher plan bad for Nevada children:
Sandoval says Reid plan would cut education: