weather icon Clear
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Teachers union: Use leftover grant money to support students

CARSON CITY — A Clark County teachers union on Monday called on lawmakers to allocate leftover grant funds to improve student performance.

Representatives from the Clark County Education Association said at a Senate Education Committee hearing that “guardrails” are needed to make sure state and federal funds are contributing to positive student performance.

“We’re very concerned about the type of investment being made, and whether or not if that money is not being used appropriately,” said association Executive Director John Vellardita.

Vellardita and other representatives from the teachers union applauded the Pupil Centered Funding Plan and the “historic” amount of money invested in K-12 education by Gov. Joe Lombardo’s executive budget, but raised specific concerns over leftover federal funds.

“We have this ungodly amount of money sitting that should and can be used in the immediate, real time to improve a student’s educational experience,” Vellardita said.

Those dollars, known as carry over funds, are leftover money from a federal grant program meant to support schools with a high number of low-income students. According to the union, Clark County schools have a combined $270 million in carryover funds.

“You’ve had superintendents come before you, as well as representatives from the Department (of Education) asking for more money, but they have not given a plan as to how that will improve our student outcomes,” said Francesca Petrucci, a representative with the union.

The education association’s representatives also called for competitive salaries to address the teacher workforce, an industry that will see a need for 14,000 educators over the next decade, Petrucci said.

Patricia Haddad, the director of government relations for the Clark County School District, said the district looks forward to continuing to work with the union and other interested parties.

“At this moment of a potentially unprecedented investment in education, we agree with education stakeholders across the state: system wide accountability is key if we are to transform education in Nevada,” Haddad said. “We must align as a state as stakeholders on a common definition of accountability that extends to every corner of the education delivery system.”

Contact Taylor R. Avery at TAvery@reviewjournal.com. Follow @travery98 on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.