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Assembly District 12

All four Republican candidates in the Assembly District 12 race are concerned about education. But how they would address education’s challenges differs.

Ron McGinnis, who made an unsuccessful bid for state Senate in 2014, carries a spiral notebook to jot down people’s comments. He said a lottery could help fund education.

“The state budget (has) some provisions in the tax code for education and I’m all for education, but that’s what the lottery would be for, to pay for better schools, equipment and teachers,” McGinnis said.

Mark Riggins, a former teacher, has issues with requiring teachers to document day-to-day achievements.

“It’s putting a tremendous amount of bureaucratic, administrative time and labor into the teacher’s day,” Riggins said. “Teachers are doing more and more things that are bureaucratic rather than teaching.”

John F. Santacruz is a student at UNLV. He said if Nevada attracts more business, the taxes and fees they pay would mean the state budget would have plenty of money.

“Right now the budget is capped. It’s only capped because of limited income,” Santacruz said. “If the income were to be increased, it wouldn’t have to be cut anywhere.”

Santacruz said he’d change how students are tested.

“Standardized testing is useless,” he said. “I think it’s a drag on the budget and I don’t think it’s anything that useful so I’d … make the curriculum more student focused.”

Walter L. Seip II, a military retiree who interned in the Delaware school district’s superintendent office in 1971, favors states’ rights.

“The high thing I think that is coming down the pike is education,” he said. “It’s bad now. I see where Common Core is going to be done away. … If responsibilities that are now done by the (federal government) are pushed onto, or ‘rightly sent back to’ — that’s the way I like to word it — the states, that would be a good thing. States should have control.”

The candidates were also asked what one piece of legislation they’d want to enact.

“One thing that I want to see incorporated in the public indecency bill is to make these young people pull their britches up,” McGinnis said. “People from all over the country come to Vegas and they bring their kids with them and they don’t want to see that.”

He wanted the fine for drivers caught talking and texting on cellphones raised to $1,000 and proposed charging tourists who drive here a $50-a-day “congestion tax.”

Riggins said he would address the distributed school account that funds all the schools. He would make it into two funds — one site-based for each school and the other for regional administrative costs.

“(With) two different accounts, if you cut from the administrative account, you’re not directly affecting the children,” Riggins said. “You won’t lose teachers. You won’t lose support staff. You won’t lose supplies. Making sure that the schools are funded is the most critical thing.”

Santacruz wants political campaigns to be funded in a new way “that was raised by the state or where people can make donations to a larger thing, like a PAC (political action committee). But the PAC would be split between everybody.”

Seip said he’d like to see open meetings throughout all levels within the state.

The GOP primary winner will face Democratic incumbent James Ohrenschall and Libertarian Troy Warren in the November general election.

Contact Summerlin Area View writer Jan Hogan, email her at jhogan@viewnews.com or call her at 702-387-2949.

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