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Gov. Sisolak signs 5 education funding, school safety bills

Posted at 6:55 PM, Jun 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-12 22:05:41-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Governor Steve Sisolak signed five bills related to education funding and school safety on June 12.

The governor signed these measures alongside State Superintendent Jhone Ebert, Senator Marilyn Dondero Loop, and Nevada Department of Education (NDE) staff in Carson City.

Assembly Bill 309 requires school districts that have collective bargaining agreements with educators to reserve enough money to provide agreed-upon salary increases to employees. This bill also authorizes counties to elect to levy a new sales tax to fund such education-related initiatives as early childhood education, adult education, truancy reduction, homelessness reduction, teacher recruitment, and workforce development. Furthermore, AB309 gives school districts more flexibility in how to spend certain funding.

Senate Bill 89 enhances the SafeVoice Program, formerly known as Safe To Tell, which enables anonymous reporting of any threatening or dangerous activity at a public school. This bill also forms a statewide committee on school safety, spearheaded by the governor, that will make recommendations to the legislature. Furthermore, SB89 strengthens requirements for school- and district-level emergency response plans, requires each school district to have a school safety specialist, and provides greater empowerment to school police officers.

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Senate Bill 324 renames the Teachers’ School Supplies Reimbursement account to the Teachers’ School Supplies Assistance Account and expands the options for teachers to access these funds, which increase under the approved budget from $100 to $180 per teacher. This was the estimate based on the number of teachers in January 2019. NDE will recalculate the amount based on the number of teachers and funded amount.

Senate Bill 551 retains the existing Modified Business Tax rate and directs additional funding toward education, including school safety initiatives, and Opportunity Scholarships, a program that provides a tax credit for businesses that donate towards private school scholarships for low-income students.

Senate Bill 545 directs all revenue from the 10 percent tax on retail sales of marijuana in Nevada into the Distributive School Account. Previously, this revenue went toward the state’s Rainy Day Fund. This provides an additional $120 million funding boost for K-12 education over the biennium.