LIFE March 1, 2010

                                              

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       Legislative Information for Educators
 
 
                   
Special Edition No. 4   – 2010 Budget Crisis-        March 1, 2010

 Special Session Concludes

-“Shared Sacrifice”-

The special session of the Nevada Legislature concluded at approximately 2:30am this morning balancing the $887 million state budget deficit. For educators, the highlights of the bill are:

  • A 6.9% reduction of state support for k-12 education OR a reduction of $117 million.
  • A $46 million reduction for higher education.
  • Class size in grades 1-3 was raised by two students per classroom, saving $20 million.
  • Allow schools to use the $47 million state textbook fund for other costs.
  • $7.6 million was taken from the Millennium Scholarship program fund, leaving it solvent only until 2015.
  • $25 million was taken from the Clark County School District capital improvement fund.

 How these reductions will play out in each district remains to be seen. Salary reductions, shortened school year and employee lay-offs are all possible. For those districts that have collective bargaining agreements with employee groups, negotiations may have to be re-opened.

 Assembly Concurrent Resolution No.2

In addition with dealing with the specifics of balancing the budget for the remainder of the biennium, the Legislature approved ACR 2. This resolution directed the state’s seventeen school districts and the Board of Regents to conduct a series of activities that could result in addition cost savings for districts.  Districts are to report their findings to the Legislative Counsel Bureau to then be given to the Interim Finance Committee. The reports must be submitted by September 1, 2010.

These include:

  • Identifying and eliminating programs that no longer serve a useful purpose.
  • Examining whether benefits offered to higher level staff can be reduced or temporarily reduced.
  • Review the administrator/staff ratios.
  • Internet posting of organizational structures, administrative levels and budgets.
  • Examining overhead coasts.
  • Ensuring that adjustments made to salaries and benefits are made in a fair and equitable manner.
  • Consider the “shared sacrifice” that is necessary to prevent massive lay offs.

 The full text of this resolution is attached to this edition of LIFE.

 Observations

No doubt, this Special Session has been painful. The phrase “shared sacrifice” was used again and again to emphasize that budget cuts are impacting all entities within state government.

However, the actions of this Legislature are, admittedly, only band aids.  A significant percentage of the new revenues identified this past week-end are ONE TIME MONIES. These funds will not be available next February when the Legislature and Governor attempt to create a budget for the 2011-2012 biennium. In fact, the budget that was approved last spring by the Legislature contained a substantial amount of one time monies also.

Estimates are that the next regular Legislative Session will be faced with replacing $3-4 billion of these one time funds with ongoing revenues.

By then, we will have elected many new legislators and, possibly, a new Governor. Whoever is elected, will be faced with immense challenges. Band aids will not get the job done next session!

 Lobbyist Contact Information

                          Lonnie Shields     lonnie.shields@yahoo.com    775-741-0036

                          Mark Coleman     ccasa@interact.ccsd.net         702-796-9602

 Published Bi-weekly By the Nevada Association of School Administrators During Each Legislative Session and As Needed During Special Sessions