weather icon Clear

Sen. Mo Denis details his plans, goals for Nevada education

The top priority for Nevada education is overhauling the Nevada Plan. There isn’t going to be a tax hike to fully implement weighted funding, and Read by 3 needs to be modified. That’s all according to Sen. Mo Denis, who will chair the Senate Education Committee. Denis also said he doesn’t now support extending $20 million in tax credits for the Opportunity Scholarship program.

“The number one thing we’ve got to do is fix how we allocate the funds, which is Nevada Plan,” said Denis while filming Nevada Politics Today.

“Does it make sense for the Nevada of today?” he continued. “When the Nevada Plan was created in 1967, I was a first grader at Robert E. Lake Elementary School. I think it’s time that we replace that and do it with something that works for Nevada today. That doesn’t mean that we have to increase any money, just how we allocate it. We need to look at what is available today.”

Completely implementing weighted funding would cost billions over the biennium. Asked if he’d purse a tax increase to pay for it, Denis said, “I don’t see that happening.” Instead, “we need to look at what is available today. If there’s anything that can be increased, we’ll look at that.”

In revising the Nevada Plan, Denis said he wanted a system that he could explain “in 30 seconds or less.” Denis said he supports continuing categorical funding, for things like Zoom and Victory Schools, in the upcoming session.

“For now, we need to continue the good things that we’re doing, put in place the new plan, which will ultimately over time increase funding,” he said.

Asked about Read by 3, Denis said he supported retaining third graders who can’t read in some circumstances.

“I support the fact that we need to have kids reading by grade 3,” he said. “If we’ve done everything that we could possibly do — giving them the resources and other things — to help those kids, then if we need to hold some of them back then we need to do that. But I don’t want to hold a kid back because of what we didn’t do.”

The retention portion of Read by 3 is scheduled to go into effect at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Denis said he believes the retention policy “needs to be tweaked” and is concerned about the number of students who’d be held back under current standards.

“We don’t have the funds to have that many kids held back,” Denis said. “I think that there are some recommendations out there that will help the kids that need to be helped, will retain the kids that need to be retained. But do it in a sensible manner so that we’re not disrupting everything else for that to happen.”

At the end of the last legislature session, legislators passed a one-time $20 million increase for the school choice program Opportunity Scholarships. Asked if he supported extending the $20 million, Denis said, “I don’t, but I’m not saying absolutely not.”

Denis said, “There are different ways to educate kids. The Opportunity Scholarships is one of those ways that you can help some kids, as we’ve seen in this particular instance. I think the biggest piece with the Opportunity Scholarships is we’ve got to make sure that there’s accountability there to see what’s really happening with those funds. I think this is the first year that we’re going to be able to get that information and see how it’s going. There is a need in some instances to do that. We just have to look at it on a student-by-student basis.”

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Bernie Sanders Unveils Affordable Housing Plan - Video
Bernie Sanders sits down with the Las Vegas Review-Journal to talk about his new affordable housing plan he unveiled at Plumbers & Pipefitters.
Jim Marchant talks gun control and Dreamers - Video
Republican Candidate for District 4 Jim Marchant talks about gun control and immigration policies. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hurricanes, Gender, and Science in the Press
Imagine if the mainstream media’s current hurricane-sized obsession with scientific accuracy applied to gender.
Cory Booker on college tuition and minimum wage
Cory Booker talks on the RJ Politics podcast about college debt, informing workers about their rights and livable wages.
Nevada Politics Today: Teacher raises - VIDEO
Jason Goudie, the chief financial officer for the Clark County School District, talks about teacher pay and raises. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Media's Double Standard On Incitement And Trump - Video
Over the weekend, an Elizabeth Warren-supporting socialist who opposed gun violence used a rifle to commit a mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. The media has downplayed that aspect of the tragedy.
Project Our Care Tour Kicks Off In Las Vegas
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus joined health care advocates and local residents as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour kick off in Las Vegas on Monday, August 5, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders talks about guns, response to El Paso shooting
Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke about his response and continued policy ideas about guns and gun control to the Review-Journal after a panel of other topics. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg On Gun Control And Climate Change - Video
Pete Buttigieg talks about his campaign for the 2020 election and how Nevada is a vision of what the future can be.
Beto O'Rourke speaks in Las Vegas
Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke to supporters at the East Las Vegas Community Center in Las Vegas, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Nevada Senate leader Kelvin Atkinson sentenced to prison
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, who pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds, was sentenced to 27 months in prison on Thursday, July 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trumps Strength is also a Weakness - Video
One of Donald Trump’s greatest strengths — his ability to shape national narratives — is also a great weakness.
Tax the Rich Bus Tour makes a stop in Las Vegas - Video
The Tax the Rich Bus has stopped in Las Vegas as part of its summer tour. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ - Video
Assembly Woman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ to bring the community together to hear about the candidates up for election and for people to gather and have fun.
Democrat Virtual Caucus - Video
Elizabeth Warren visits Las Vegas
Senator Elizabeth Warren made a campaign stop at the East Las Vegas Community Center on Tuesday July 2, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Aaron Ford Speaks About Bill AB431
AB431 is a bill sponsored by Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson to restore the right to vote for formerly incarcerated individuals. Attorney General Aaron Ford spoke at the AM&E Church in North Las Vegas about the bill, on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Right Take: Biden's Racially Questionable Comments
Joe Biden has uttered racially charged statements for years. Now that he’s the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination, he may finally face prolonged scrutiny for them.
Christopher Rufo Discusses Homelessness In The USA - VIDEO
Christopher Rufo discusses homelessness in the United States and how politicians can work to improve conditions for those with drug addictions.