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Governor candidate Laxalt unveils education plan for Nevada

Gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt unveiled his education plan Wednesday calling for extensive reforms in Nevada’s K-12 system that he says leaves too many students “stuck in schools that are failing them.”

Laxalt’s plan, dubbed Nevada’s Next Chapter in Education Reform, would alter how the trustees of the school boards for Clark and Washoe counties are chosen, loosen restrictions on charter schools and instill more state-level oversight of local school districts’ spending.

Laxalt, a Republican, said his education platform has come together after months of meetings with Nevada teachers, administrators and policymakers.

“Education is the civil rights issue of our time. Too many kids are never given a chance to succeed because they are stuck in schools that are failing them,” he said in a news release detailing the platform.

Laxalt’s plan promises that Nevada “will never go backwards from our current levels of education spending,” but several of his proposals would require either additional money or cuts from other areas in the education budget.

Those include doubling out-of-pocket spending reimbursement for the states’ 20,000-plus teachers from $250 per year to $500, rewarding “high performing” schools with monetary award, doubling the cap on Opportunity Scholarship programs to $64 million per biennium and calling for increased funding career and technical education programs offered to students.

Other highlights of Laxalt’s platform include:

  • School Board shakeups: Laxalt proposes changing the all-elected school boards in Clark and Washoe counties to be a mix of appointed and elected positions. This somewhat mirrors a failed push state Senate GOP leader and lieutenant governor candidate Michael Roberson in last year’s Lgislature which called for all Clark County School District trustees to be appointed.
  • “Education Checkbook”: Laxalt says he would implement an online database accessible to the public that would detail how school districts spend their funds.
  • Mandating promised raises: Laxalt says he would support legislation that mandates school districts set aside funds for teacher pay raises that are detailed in the district’s contracts.
  • More school choice: Laxalt’s platform calls for the state to speed-up the approval process for new charter schools, expanding the Opportunity Scholarship system and expresses his support for the Education Savings Account, a voucher-like program that provides families with money in per-pupil funding for private school tuition, home-school expenses and other educational services.

Contact Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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