Assembly OKs bill to make parents more involved in kids' education

CARSON CITY -- A bill to create a state office that will work to increase the involvement of parents in the education of their children was approved Wednesday in the Assembly.

Under Assembly Bill 224, the Office of Parental Involvement and Family Engagement would be set up in the Department of Education.

A director would be hired to "re-engage disengaged parents" in the education of children.

The director also would identify programs to help parents with literacy problems and to encourage them to perform volunteer work at schools.

But the bill, proposed by Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson, D-Reno, comes with a cost. It requires the state to spend more than $100,000 to hire the director and set up the office.

Those funds are not in Gov. Brian Sandoval's proposed budget, which prompted 13 of the 16 Republicans to vote against the bill and probably will doom its chance of becoming law in a session when budgets are being cut. The final Assembly vote was 29-13.

The parental involvement bill still must clear the state Senate, but two other education-related bills won final approval Wednesday when the Assembly agreed to minor state Senate amendments. The bills now will be forwarded to the governor for his signature or veto.

Assembly Bill 227, sponsored by Assemblyman John Hambrick, R-Las Vegas, would require school districts to let nonprofit athletic programs and activities use school sport fields and playgrounds when not reserved for school activities. The requirement does not apply in cases in which schools already have entered into agreements with local governments to allow the use of fields and playgrounds for activities.

During hearings, Hambrick said he was once denied use of an unused sport field by a principal when he was a Little League coach.

Assembly Bill 455 also received final approval when the Assembly backed a state Senate amendment.

This bill requires school districts, the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association and all associations that oversee other youth activities to develop policies for dealing with head injuries to student athletes.

Under the bill, students who suffer head injuries must be removed immediately from competition. They cannot re-enter any sport without a written statement from a doctor that their injuries have healed and they can participate.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at or 775-687-3901.