July 24, 2018
24 Jul 2018

Political Update – July 24, 2018

Where CCSD’s extra money went

By Victor Joecks
Las Vegas Review-Journal
July 17, 2018

Nevada’s education establishment hopes you’re bad at history. Otherwise, you’ll identify what’s missing in its push for more funding.

Officials from the Clark County School District and liberal special interest groups are already pushing for increased education spending next legislative session. Expect to hear lots of talk about the need to fund the base and rework the funding formula. Don’t expect to hear much about Gov. Brian Sandoval forcing through the largest tax increase in Nevada history just three years ago — specifically to increase education spending. Why let little things such as inconvenient facts get in the way of your narrative?

So why is the district out of money? Here are four expenses you may not have known about.

1. Increased PERS contributions. In 2009, district payments to the Public Employees Retirement System equaled 20.6 percent of payroll. That percentage, set by state law, increased every two years, reaching 28.1 percent in 2017. In total, the district sent PERS $438 million last year.

If the PERS contribution rate had remained at 2009 levels, the district’s retirement costs would have been $117 million lower in 2017. Half would have gone to boosting employee pay, and the district would have had almost $60 million extra. Coincidentally, the district put its recent budget deficit at $68 million.

So did teachers and other school district employees at least see their retirement benefits increase? Nope. The rate hikes were needed to pay down PERS’ looming unfunded liability. The taxpayers, the district and its employees are paying more because previous retirees didn’t pay enough into the system to cover their costs.

Barring reforms, this will continue to cause budget drama for decades to come.

Keystone Corporation

Quote of the week



"Rather than address its structural problems, the education establishment wants to — again — throw more money into a broken system." – Victor Joecks,
"Where CCSD’s extra money went"
Las Vegas Review-Journal,
July 17, 2018


EDITORIAL: To attract better teachers to low-performing schools, reform union pay structure

Las Vegas Review-Journal
July 21, 2018

State education officials raised concerns last week about disparities in teacher quality between Clark County schools in affluent and low-income areas. And, once again, the problem can be traced to the one-size-fits-all socialized pay structure that has long dominated teacher compensation thanks to union politics.

It shouldn’t be any surprise that experienced teachers prefer to use their seniority to secure work in the most comfortable surroundings. In many cases, that relegates new educators to campuses in poorer areas. As a result, schools in wealthier neighborhoods, according to a report presented to the state Board of Education last week, tend to spend more on teacher pay, exacerbating funding gaps.

“We’re funding schools that are serving at-risk students at possibly a much lower level than we’re funding schools in the affluent areas,” board Vice President Mark Newburn said, “and it’s all invisible. We can’t see it.”

Yet schools in so-called “at-risk” areas are eligible for a variety of programs that offer additional money in an effort to improve student performance. Most of those financial resources are not available to suburban campuses. In addition, let’s not confuse experience with quality. In general, higher-paid veterans may indeed be more of an asset in the classroom than fresh-faced rookies at the bottom of the pay scale. But in some cases, that won’t be the case.

Keystone's Mission:

To recruit, support and advocate for candidates for public office who support private sector job creation, low taxation, a responsible regulatory environment, and effective delivery of essential state services.

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• To focus on candidate support on state legislative races and the governor's office.
• To oppose any form of corporate income taxes or other business taxes that discourage capital investment and therefore job creation.
• Support limiting Nevada state government spending to the rate of population growth.

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