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Public education in Nevada

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The Nevada public school system (prekindergarten-grade 12) operates within districts governed by locally elected school boards members and superintendents.

The Nevada state constitution requires that the state legislature provide "all suitable means the promotion of intellectual, literary, scientific, mining, mechanical, agricultural, and moral improvements." Additionally, the legislature must establish and maintain a school in each school district for a minimum of 6 months in every year. The state is prohibited from providing funding for sectarian schools.[1]

School revenues, expenditures and budget

See also: Nevada state budget
Nevada's education costs are 13% of the state budget

For the 2009-2011 biennium Nevada had a total budget of $27.81 billion.[2] Education accounted for $3.63 billion, 13.05%, of the total statewide budget.[3]

In April 2009 Nevada officials stated that the state was facing a budget gap of about $2.2 billion. Gov. Jim Gibbons' budget director said the total could approach $3 billion.[4] In 2008 in response to the state's budget crisis, the Governor withdrew $267 million from the rainy day fund however the funds were not enough to cover approximately $1.2 billion in cuts that were later made.[5] In addition, the Gov. Gibbons proposed a 6 percent salary cut for all state employees and a 36 percent cut for higher education for fiscal year 2010.[6]

The cost per pupil is $8,285, ranking 44th in the nation according the Census Bureau 2007-2008 report.[7]

Personnel salaries

According to the American Federation of Teachers, Nevada ranked 19th in the nation for average teacher salary for the 2006-07 school year. In the 2006-07 school year the average teacher salary was $49,426, a 7.2% increase from 2005-06. Nevada ranked 18th in beginning teacher salaries - $35,480, a 2.6% increase from 2005-06.[8]

School year Average annual teacher salary Average beginning teacher salary
2006-2007 $49,426[8] $35,480[8]
2005-2006 $45,867[8] $34,558[8]
2004-2005 $43,212[9] $27,957[9]
2003-2004 $43,212[9] $27,677[9]

Role of unions

The main union related to the Nevada school system is Nevada State Education Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA). For the 2003 tax period the union had: $7.25 million in total revenue, $6.70 million in total expenses and $3.67 million in total assets.[10]

List of local Nevada school unions:[11]

Role of school boards

State Board of Education is comprised of ten members and a non-voting student representative. Members are elected on a nonpartisan ballot for four-year terms. Board members cannot serve more than three consecutive terms. Specifically, 7 members are elected from Clark, Lincoln and Nye Counties, 1 member is elected from Washoe County and 2 members are elected from the remaining 13 counties.[12]

There are 107 school board members across the state, serving on 5 or 4 member boards for each of the 17 countywide school districts.[13]

Taxpayer-funded lobbying

See also: Nevada government sector lobbying

The main education government sector lobbying organization is the Nevada Association of School Boards. Every one of Nevada's school districts is a member of the organization.[14]


On January 15, 2009 Governor Jim Gibbons launched a statewide searchable online database for financial data called Nevada Open Government.[15]


A 2009 study, Leaders and Laggards, conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for a Competitive Workplace, Frederick M. Hess of the conservative American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, and the Center for American Progress, gave Nevada: "F" in academic achievement; "C" in truth in advertising about student proficiency; "C" in rigor of standards; "F" in post-secondary and workforce readiness; "A" in for its teacher workforce policies; "B" in data quality.[16]

Academic performance

School district status

Below is a chart of the school districts' AYP status as of the end of the 2008-2009 school year.[17] To see results, click "show."

State Budget Solutions’ Education Study: “Throwing Money At Education Isn’t Working”

State Budget Solutions’ examined national trends in education from 2009-2011, including state-by-state analysis of education spending, graduation rates, and average ACT scores. The study shows that states that spend the most do not have the highest average ACT test scores, nor do they have the highest average graduation rates. A summary of the study is available here. Download the full report here: Throwing Money At Education Isn’t Working.

See National Chart to compare data from all 50 states.

State Spending on Education vs. Academic Performance 2012

State 2011 Total Spending[18] 2011 Education Spending[19] 2011 Percent Education Spending 2012 Total Spending[20] 2012 Education Spending[21] 2012 Percent Education Spending 2010 Avg. ACT score[22] 2011 Avg. ACT score[23] 2012 Avg. ACT score[24] 2010 Graduation Rate[25] 2011 Graduation Rate[26]
Nevada $21.8 billion $5.8 billion 26.6% $20.8 billion $5.7 billion 27.4% 21.5 21.4 21.3 52.0% 56.3%

School choice

School choice options include:

  • Charter schools: are public schools - elementary through high school - that operate under a charter issued by a local school district or the State Board of Education.[27] According to state officials in the 2009-2010 school year there were approximately 27 charter schools in the state of Nevada.[28] In the 2007-2008 school year it is reported that approximately 7,200 students were enrolled in charter schools.[29]
  • Public school open enrollment: the state of Nevada has two open enrollment policies: inter-district and intra-district. In other words, students are permitted to enroll in any school within their neighborhood school district or in any alternative district in the state.[29]
  • Online learning: The state of Nevada does not have a state-led online program, however there are several statewide online charter schools.[29]

External links


  1. Nevada Constitution,"Article XI, Section 1 & 2," retrieved October 30, 2009
  2. Nevada Open Government,"2009-2011 Biennium: Legislatively Approved Budget," retrieved November 2, 2009
  3. Nevada Open Government,"2009-2011 Biennium by Department," retrieved November 2, 2009
  4. Associated Press,"Lawmakers discuss budget problems," April 2,2009
  5. RGJ,"Nevada lawmakers debate how to save," February 24,2009
  6. Las Vegas Sun,"Gibbons shunned by state lawmakers," February 13,2009
  7. Maine Watchdog, Education Spending Per Child, July 6, 2010
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 American Federation of Teachers,"Nevada ranked 19th in the Nation for Teacher Pay," retrieved October 30, 2009
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 American Federation of Teachers,"Nevada Ranks 25th in the Nation for Teacher Pay," March 29, 2007
  10. Center for Union Facts,"Nevada State Education Association," retrieved October 29, 2009
  11. Center for Union Facts,"Nevada teachers unions," retrieved October 29, 2009
  12. Nevada Department of Education,"Nevada State Board of Education," retrieved October 30, 2009
  13. An Open Letter to Nevada Parent, School, and Business Communities, Nevada Association of School Boards
  14. NASB History
  15. Governor Jim Gibbons,"Nevada Open Government executive order," March 18, 2008
  16. U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute,"Nevada Education Report Card," retrieved November 17, 2009
  17. Nevada Department of Education,"2008-2009 AYP School Designations," retrieved October 30, 2009
  18. USGovernmentSpending.com "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Total Spending" Aug. 4, 2012
  19. http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/spending_chart_1997_2017ALb_13s1li111mcn_20t USGovernmentSpending.com "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Education Spending"Aug. 4, 2012
  20. USGovernmentSpending.com "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Total Spending" Aug. 4, 2012
  21. http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/spending_chart_1997_2017ALb_13s1li111mcn_20t USGovernmentSpending.com "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Education Spending"Aug. 4, 2012
  22. 2010 ACT National and State Scores "Average Scores by State"
  23. [http://www.act.org/newsroom/data/2011/states.html 2011 ACT National and State Scores " Average Scores by State"]
  24. [http://www.act.org/newsroom/data/2011/states.html 2011 ACT National and State Scores " Average Scores by State"]
  25. National Center for Education Statistics
  26. National Center for Education Statistics
  27. Nevada Department of Education,"Charter Schools," retrieved October 30, 2009
  28. Nevada Department of Education,"List of Charter Schools," September 25, 2009
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 The Heritage Foundation,"Nevada," retrieved October 30, 2009