Public education in Nevada
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- 1 State agencies
- 2 Regional comparison
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Academic performance
- 5 Educational choice options
- 6 Education funding and expenditures
- 7 Organizations
- 8 Taxpayer-funded lobbying
- 9 Transparency
- 10 Studies and reports
- 11 Issues
- 12 School districts
- 13 Education ballot measures
- 14 See also
- 15 External links
- 16 References
List of school districts in Nevada
Public education in Nevada
School board elections portal
|“||To improve student achievement and educator effectiveness by ensuring opportunities, facilitating learning, and promoting excellence.||”|
The Nevada State Board of Education sets education policy for the state. It is composed of 11 members, four of whom are elected. The other seven are appointed.
Common Core, or the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an American education initiative that outlines quantifiable benchmarks in English and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through high school. The Nevada Department of Education adopted these standards on June 22, 2010, and fully implemented them during the 2013-2014 school year.
- See also: General comparison table for education statistics in the 50 states and Education spending per pupil in all 50 states
The following chart shows how Nevada compares to three neighboring states with respect to number of students, schools, the number of teachers per pupil, and the number of administrators per pupil. Further comparisons between these states with respect to performance and financial information are given in other sections of this page.
|State||Schools||Districts||Students||Teachers||Teacher/pupil ratio||Administrator/pupil ratio||Per pupil spending|
| Sources: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey", 2011-12 v.1a.|
National Center for Education Statistics, Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12
The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in Nevada as reported in the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data for 2011-2012.
|Demographic Information for Nevada's K-12 Public School System|
|Ethnicity||Students||State Percentage||United States Percentage**|
|Hawaiian Nat./Pacific Isl. Students||5,502||1.25%||0.42%|
|Two or More||23,232||5.28%||2.54%|
|**Note: This is the percentage of all students in the United States that are reported to be of this ethnicity.|
Enrollments by region type
A plurality of students in Nevada attend city schools. More than 70 percent of the state's students attend city or suburban schools, compared to approximately 6.6 percent who attend town schools. For a comparison of schools by region in Nevada and its surrounding states, look to the table below.
|Student distribution by region type, 2011 - 2012 (as percents)|
|State||City schools||Suburban schools||Town schools||Rural Schools|
|Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD) (timed out)|
- See also: NAEP scores by state
The National Center for Education Statistics provides state-by-state data on student achievement levels in mathematics and reading in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Compared to neighboring states, Nevada had a smaller percentage of students score at or above proficient in math and reading in fourth grade than Arizona and Utah. However, an equal or higher percentage of students in Nevada scored at or above proficient in math and reading in fourth grade compared to students in California.
|Percent of students scoring at or above proficient, 2012-2013|
|Math - Grade 4||Math - Grade 8||Reading - Grade 4||Reading - Grade 8|
|NAEP assessment data for all students 2012-2013|
Graduation, ACT and SAT scores
|Comparison table for graduation rates and test scores**|
|State||Graduation rate, 2012||Average ACT Composite, 2012||Average SAT Composite, 2013|
|Percent||Quintile||Score||Participation rate||Score||Participation rate|
| **Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Rate (except for Idaho, Kentucky, Oklahoma, which did not report “Regulatory Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate,” but instead used their own method of calculation).|
Source: United States Department of Education, ED Data Express
- See also: Public high school dropout rates by state for a full comparison of dropout rates by group in all states
The high school event dropout rate indicates the proportion of students who were enrolled at some time during the school year and were expected to be enrolled in grades 9–12 in the following school year but were not enrolled by October 1 of the following school year. Students who have graduated, transferred to another school, died, moved to another country, or who are out of school due to illness are not considered dropouts. The average public high school event dropout rate for the United States remained constant at 3.3 percent for both SY 2010–11 and SY 2011–12. The event dropout rate for Nevada was higher than the national average at 4.1 percent in the 2010-2011 school year, and 3.9 percent in the 2011-2012 school year.
Educational choice options
- See also: School choice in Nevada
Education funding and expenditures
- See also: Nevada state budget and finances
According to the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), the state spent approximately 23.6 percent of its fiscal year 2012 budget on elementary and secondary education. This is up seven percent, a 42.2 percent increase in the share of the budget from fiscal year 2008, when the state spent 16.6 percent of its budget on elementary and secondary education. Over half of Nevada's education revenue comes from local funding. State funding accounts for about 33 percent, and federal funding accounts for just over 10 percent.
|Comparison of financial figures for school systems|
|State||Percent of budget (2012)||Per pupil spending (2011)||Revenue sources (2011)|
|Percent federal funds||Percent state funds||Percent local funds|
| Sources: NASBO, "State Expenditure Report," Table 8: Elementary and Secondary Education Expenditures As a Percent of Total Expenditures |
U.S. Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011,Governments Division Reports," issued May 2013
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school system revenues in Nevada totaled approximately $4.2 billion in fiscal year 2011. The table and chart below present further detail, including revenue sources, for Nevada and surrounding states.
|Revenues by source, FY 2011 (amounts in thousands)|
|Federal revenue||State revenue||Local revenue||Total revenue|
|Public school revenues by source, FY 2011 (as percents)|
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, public school system expenditures in Nevada totaled approximately $4.3 billion in fiscal year 2011. The table and chart below present further detail, including expenditure types, for Nevada and surrounding states.
|Expenditures by type, FY 2011 (amounts in thousands)|
|Current expenditures**||Capital outlay||Other***||Total expenditures|
| **Funds spent operating local public schools and local education agencies, including such expenses as salaries for school personnel, student transportation, school books and materials, and energy costs, but excluding capital outlay, interest on school debt, payments to private schools, and payments to public charter schools.|
***Includes payments to state and local governments, payments to private schools, interest on school system indebtedness, and nonelementary-secondary expenditures, such as adult education and community services expenditures.
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
|Public school expenditures, FY 2011 (as percents)|
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average national salary for classroom teachers in public elementary and secondary schools has declined by 1.3 percent from the 1999-2000 school year to the 2012-2013 school year. During the same period in Nevada, the average salary increased by four percent.
|Estimated average salaries for teachers (in constant dollars**)|
|**"Constant dollars based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, adjusted to a school-year basis. The CPI does not account for differences in inflation rates from state to state."|
In 2012, the Fordham Institute and Education Reform Now assessed the power and influence of state teacher unions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Their rankings were based on 37 different variables in five broad areas, including: resources and membership, involvement in politics, scope of bargaining, state policies and perceived influence. Nevada ranked 25th overall, or average, which was in the middle tier of five.
List of local Nevada school unions:
- Nevada State Education Association
- Clark County Education Association
- Douglas County Professional Education Association
- Ormsby County Education Association
- Elko County Classroom Teacher Association
- See also: Nevada government sector lobbying
Studies and reports
Quality Counts 2014
- See also: Quality Counts 2014 Report
Education Week, a publication that reports on many education issues throughout the country, began using an evaluation system in 1997 to grade each state on various elements of education performance. This system, called Quality Counts, uses official data on performance from each state to generate a report card for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The report card in 2014 uses six different categories:
- Chance for success
- K-12 achievement
- Standards, assessments and accountability
- The teaching profession
- School finance
- Transitions and Alignment
Each of these six categories had a number of other elements that received individual scores. Those scores were then averaged and used to determine the final score in each category. Every state received two types of scores for each of the six major categories: A numerical score out of 100 and a letter grade based on that score. Education Week used the score for the first category, "chance for success," as the value for ranking each state and the District of Columbia. The average grade received in the entire country was 77.3, or a C+ average. The country's highest average score was in the category of "standards, assessments and accountability" at 85.3, or a B average. The lowest average score was in "K-12 achievement", at 70.2, or a C- average.
Nevada received a score of 65.7, or a D average in the "chance for success" category. This was below the national average. The state's highest score was in "standards, assessments and accountability" at 75.4, or a C average. The lowest score was in "school finance" at 64.5, or a D average. Nevada had the lowest score in the "standards, assessments and accountability" category when compared to surrounding states. The chart below displays the scores of Nevada and its surrounding states.
Note: Click on a column heading to sort the data.
|Public education report cards, 2014|
|State||Chance for success||K-12 achievement||Standards, assessments and accountability||The teaching profession||School finance||Transitions and Alignment|
|Nevada||65.7 (D)||66.7 (D+)||75.4 (C)||71.0 (C-)||64.5 (D)||75.0 (C)|
|Arizona||70.2 (C-)||66.6 (D+)||87.6 (B+)||62.4 (D-)||66.8 (D+)||78.6 (C+)|
|California||72.4 (C-)||67.8 (D+)||92.8 (A)||71.6 (C-)||69.2 (D+)||82.1 (B-)|
|Utah||79.1 (C+)||69.1 (D+)||81.7 (B-)||64.5 (D)||65.2 (D)||89.3 (B+)|
|United States Average||77.3 (C+)||70.2 (C-)||85.3 (B)||72.5 (C)||75.5 (C)||81.1 (B-)|
| Source: Education Week, "Quality Counts 2014 report cards," accessed February 18, 2015|
A full discussion of how these numbers were generated can be found here.
State Budget Solutions education study
State Budget Solutions examined national trends in education from 2009 to 2011, including state-by-state analysis of education spending, graduation rates and average ACT scores. The study showed that the states that spent the most did not have the highest average ACT test scores, nor did they have the highest average graduation rates. A summary of the study is available here. The full report can be accessed here.
Graduation rate inflation
Both Clark County School District and Washoe County School District were investigated by state officials following a significant jump in their 2013 high school graduation rates. Clark County's graduation rate jumped by 10 percent, while Washoe County's graduation rate rose by four percent. Overall, the state's graduation rate rose by eight percent. State officials worked with the U.S. Department of Education to evaluate the districts' calculation of graduation rates. This evaluation found that the districts excluded high school seniors who transferred into adult education programs without earning diplomas or earned high school equivalency degrees not considered diplomas when calculating graduation rates. Federal officials asked school administrators across the country to calculate graduation rates by following each freshman class through a four-year period. This policy was not strictly followed by state education officials, who allowed districts to exclude adult education students from the four-year graduation rate. The adjusted rate for 2013 would likely be at least three percent less than the inflated rate, according to state officials. The 2013 graduation rates will not be adjusted, although the addition of omitted students in 2014 will likely contribute to a drop in graduation rates.
Clark County cheating allegations
The Nevada Department of Education conducted a two-year investigation into allegations of cheating on state tests by employees of Matt Kelly Elementary School in the Clark County School District. These allegations stemmed from a significant jump in proficiency scores by students at Kelly Elementary between 2011 and 2012. The state's findings, published in April 2014, found that the district failed to maintain accurate records of personnel responsible for test administration in 2012. District officials were also criticized for failure to conduct a more rigorous investigation of test irregularities. Score results from 2012 have been invalidated and district administrators will conduct testing at Kelly Elementary in 2014. The district responded by placing Associate Superintendent Andre Denson and two school administrators on indefinite paid leave pending review of the report.
- See also: School board elections portal
- See also: List of school districts in Nevada
|Student enrollment||Per-pupil spending|
|1.) Clark County||1.) Esmeralda County|
|2.) Washoe County||2.) Eureka County|
|3.) Elko County||3.) Mineral County|
|4.) Lyon County||4.) Pershing County|
|5.) Carson City||5.) Storey County|
|6.) Douglas County||6.) Lincoln County|
|7.) Nye County||7.) White Pine County|
|8.) Churchill County||8.) Nye County|
|9.) Humboldt County||9.) Elko County|
|10.) White Pine County||10.) Lander County|
School board composition
Nevada school board members are elected by residents of the school district. Nevada school board elections typically follow one of these three methods, or a mixture thereof:
- At-large: All voters residing in the school district may vote for any candidates running, regardless of geographic location.
- Trustee area: Only voters residing in a specific geographic area within the school district may vote on certain candidates, who must also reside in that specific geographic area.
- Trustee area at-large: All voters residing in the school district may vote for any candidates running, but candidates must reside in specific geographic areas within the school district.
School boards can consist of five or seven members. School board members serve four-year terms, which are often staggered every two years.
No top enrollment districts in Nevada are scheduled to hold elections in 2015.
Path to the ballot
To qualify for the ballot as a school board candidate in Nevada, a person must be:
- 18 years of age or older
- A "qualified elector"
- A resident of the school district for at least 30 days prior to the candidacy filing deadline
The process of running for office as a school board candidate begins with filing a "declaration of candidacy" form at the local county elections office. Depending on the district, candidates may also be required to pay a filing fee. The filing fee in both Clark County and Washoe County is $30.
Education ballot measures
Ballotpedia has tracked the following statewide ballot measures relating to education.
- Nevada Corporate Tax for Education, Question 6 (1990)
- Nevada Fund Education First, Question 1 (2006)
- Nevada Margin Tax for Public Schools Initiative, Question 3 (2014)
- Nevada Per Pupil Expenditure, Question 2 (2004)
- Nevada Public School Financing, Question 3 (1956)
- Nevada Public School Funding, Question 1 (2004)
- Nevada Selection of University Board of Regents Amendment, Question 9 (2006)
- Nevada State Debt Limit School Exemption, Question 7 (2002)
- Nevada state budget and finances
- Nevada Department of Education
- List of school districts in Nevada
- School choice in Nevada
- Charter schools in Nevada
- Education Policy in the U.S.
- Nevada Department of Education
- Nevada Public School Ratings by PSK12
- Nevada Public School Ratings by Great Schools
- National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
- ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
- United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD); Table 2.—Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011-12," accessed May 12, 2014
- United States Department of Education, "ED Data Express," accessed May 12, 2014
- State of Nevada Department of Education, "State Educational Goals," accessed May 21, 2014
- State of Nevada Department of Education, "Superintendent of Public Instruction," accessed May 21, 2014
- State of Nevada Department of Education, "About NDE," accessed May 21, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- State of Nevada Department of Education, "State Board of Education," accessed May 21, 2014
- Common Core State Standards Initiative, "Core Standards in your State," accessed July 12, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, 2011-2012," accessed May 7, 2014
- United States Department of Education, ED Data Express, "State Tables," accessed May 13, 2014
- ACT, "2012 ACT National and State Scores," accessed May 13, 2014
- Commonwealth Foundation, "SAT Scores by State 2013," October 10, 2013
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Dropout and Graduation Rate Data File, School Year 2010-11, Provision Version 1a and School Year 2011-12, Preliminary Version 1a," accessed May 13, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2011-2013," accessed February 21, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009-2011," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditures Report, 2010-2012," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2008," accessed February 24, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary School Districts: School Year 2010–11," accessed May 13, 2014 (timed out)
- Maciver Institute, "REPORT: How much are teachers really paid?," accessed October 29, 2014
- United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 211.60. Estimated average annual salary of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools, by state: Selected years, 1969-70 through 2012-13," accessed May 13, 2014
- Thomas E Fordham Institute, "How Strong Are U.S. Teacher Unions? A State-By-State Comparison," October 29, 2012
- Center for Union Facts, "Nevada teachers unions," accessed October 29, 2009 (dead link)
- Nevada Association of School Boards, "NASB History," accessed May 21, 2014
- Governor Jim Gibbons, "Nevada Open Government executive order," March 18, 2008
- Education Week "Quality Counts 2014 report cards," accessed February 19, 2015
- Las Vegas Review-Journal, "State corrects flaw that allowed graduation rate inflation," April 19, 2014
- Reno Gazette-Journal, "Data change could affect Washoe and Nevada graduation numbers," April 20, 2014
- Las Vegas Sun, "State investigation finds cheating at Las Vegas elementary school," April 16, 2014
- United States Census Bureau, "Nevada," accessed July 11, 2014
- Nevada Department of Education, "2011-2012 State Accountability Summary Report," accessed August 7, 2013
- Nevada Annual Reports of Accountability, "Per Pupil Expenditures (2010-2011)," accessed August 7, 2013
- Nevada Association of School Boards, "List of Nevada School Board Members," accessed July 11, 2014
- 8 News Now, "Nevada Supreme Court Rules on Term Limits," July 28, 2008
- Nevada Secretary of State, "Election Information Guide," accessed July 11, 2014
- Clark County Registrar of Voters, "2014 Candidate Guide," accessed July 11, 2014
State of Nevada
Carson City (capital)
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