Last Tuesday, Assemblyman David Gardner (District 9 – Las Vegas) introduced AB 394: The Community School District Act, an education bill allowing for incorporated cities to create a local community school district with the approval of the State Board of Education.
A hearing for the bill in the Assembly Education Committee has been set for Monday, March 30th.
Under current law, the state is organized into 16 county school districts along with a separate district for Carson City. The bill by Gardner gives municipalities the option to petition the State Board of Education in order to create a separate school district. In addition, the bill authorizes two or more contiguous school districts to consolidate by interlocal agreement.
Gardner has been working with State Superintendent Dale Erquiaga on the bill to help give cities local control by providing smaller and more manageable school districts, following Governor Brian Sandoval’s call for this type of legislation in his State of the State address.
“We are doing this to empower parents and have local government closer to the people as another way to improve education.” Gardner said about his reasoning for introducing AB 394.
Should this bill become law, Nevada will join more than 30 other states that allow for school districts to be based on city lines.
AB 394 states a city can propose a new district within their boundaries to the State Board of Education. The State Board must, within 120 days and after a 30-day community notice, hold a hearing on the proposed new district. After the hearing, the board can approve, disapprove, or amend and approve a plan for a local school district.
Superintendent Erquiaga understands the concerns about separating a school district, but feels this is one of the many methods to support Governor Sandoval’s plan to improve the state’s education system.
“During the State of the State speech, Governor Sandoval committed to do everything he could to help our children get the best education we can provide. We believe this plan to modernize school district governance will result in better accountability in our schools and more focused attention in educating our children,” Erquiaga said.
The City of Henderson has already expressed the desire for the concept when they voted 5-0 at their March 3rd meeting for a resolution to support introducing legislation that allows local governments to create smaller school districts in urban counties.
AB 394 is co-sponsored by Assemblymembers Victoria Seaman, Stephen Silberkraus, Glenn Trowbridge, Brent Jones, Jill Dickman, P.K. O’Neill, Michele Fiore, and Pat Hickey.
SOURCE: Nevada Assembly Republican Caucus