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Teacher's union commissions report on diversifying Nevada's economy

CCEA building
Posted at 6:32 PM, Jan 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-20 02:02:36-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The Clark County Education Association teacher's union commissioned a report on how Nevada can attract different industries to the state as it aims to find more funding for education.

Education funding has been a constant discussion in Nevada among lawmakers, even before the pandemic, which has wrecked the state’s finances and forced budget cuts ahead of the upcoming legislative session.


“Our economy is primarily dependent on two sources: the gaming industry and tourism," said John Vellardita, the executive director of CCEA. "And that’s a boom and bust type of cycle.”

Vellardita says there needs to be a push to diversify the state’s economy, especially as a business-friendly state in terms of lower taxes.

“What did we learn out of this collapse that was so similar to what happened in 2008 and how can we avoid it in the future,” he said.

The union commissioned an out-of-state firm to create a 39-page report on areas where there can be new growth for Nevada’s economy. It includes attracting businesses like Amazon and Walmart.

“If we develop policies and incentives at the state level to grow those, you then grow the economy,” said Vellardita.

RELATED: CCEA gets signatures in petition for higher tax proposals to help schools

Suzette LaGrange Miranda used to have kids in Clark County School District schools. She agrees with the idea of attracting different industries, but she has some long-term concerns.

“We’ve been winning lots of distribution facilities and employing lots of warehouse workers. Those aren’t exactly the highest paying jobs,” she said.

Miranda is skeptical about the impact more money would have on education, saying taxpayers like herself have paid more and haven’t seen results yet.

“It’s not a more money issue," she said. "We would be better off if we granted more opportunity scholarships. Have the money follow the student. Let the parents choose and make better choices.”

The CCEA already has two tax initiatives on the table aimed at raising funds for education. Those proposals are expected to be discussed during the upcoming legislative session.