Education

Alexa Ard

 

School choice is a phrase you’ve been hearing a lot lately as Nevada rolls out its education savings account program, which gives parents funds for alternative schooling. Debates over the program are highlighting broader issues in education funding.  To begin with, the Nevada State Plan, which governs school funding in the state, hasn’t actually been updated since 1967.

 

  

Education Savings Accounts: Get The Facts, Fast!

Sep 3, 2015
Gabriella Benavidez

There's a lot of information, and confusion, surrounding Nevada's new Education Savings Account program. To get the lowdown, check out our handy infographic:

Alexa Ard

Although some in the state legislature are selling Nevada’s new education savings account program as a benefit for low-income students, many Washoe County families don't see it as a realistic option for them.

I wanted to see if parents and students at Reno's low-income public schools had heard of the ESA program, and what they thought of it. So I hit the streets just as school was letting out.

“Have you heard about the Education Savings Account program in Nevada?”

“No”

“No, sorry me no.”

“Have you heard about the Education Savings Account program?”

Alexa Ard

Excitement is building around Nevada’s Education Savings Account (ESA) Program, which will give eligible families about $5,000 a year to subsidize their child’s private or home school education. 

But as the application process gets underway, many parents are also voicing a lot of confusion and frustration. For the latest on the situation, Reno Public Radio’s News Director Michelle Bliss reached out to State Treasurer Dan Schwartz whose office is running the program. 

Alexa Ard

  This week our news team is taking an in depth look at the state's new Education Savings Account program in a five-part series called Nevada's Gamble on School Choice. To kick things off, our reporter Julia Ritchey tells us how private school parents are at arms over one of the most controversial elements of the law: the so-called 100-days rule. 

Anh Gray

Washoe County School District officials painted a bleak picture Friday of the future of repair and construction needs to a newly formed committee on public school overcrowding. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey was there and has this report.

The average age of a Washoe County public school is 39 years old and $25 million a year is the minimum needed for repairs and renovations to the district's crumbling infrastructure.

Julia Ritchey

  Nevada Treasury officials heard from a crowd of frustrated and confused private school parents during a hearing Friday on the state's new Education Savings Account program. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey was there.

More than three dozen parents spoke during public comment to air grievances about a key provision of the new program known as the 100-day rule.

Again and again, their concerns sounded like this:

"I implore you once again to examine legislative intent with regard to the 100 days," said parent Bri Thorson.

Julia Ritchey

Summer break is officially over for the 63,000 students returning to Washoe County Schools on Monday. Reno Public Radio’s Julia Ritchey visited one of the state’s newly designated Victory Schools, which will receive extra money this year.

Kids shuffled to class as the tardy bell signaled the start of another school year for Libby Booth Elementary.

Booth is one of four so-called Victory Schools set to receive additional funds to help its low-income student body. Nearly all of Booth’s students qualify for free or reduced lunch. 

Washoe County Schools are opening their doors Monday to 63,000 students as K-12 classes get underway. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss has the details on two district-wide changes going into effect this school year.

One big change is that all kindergartners in Washoe now have access to free full-day schooling. The state legislature approved funding to roll this out statewide a year from now, but the Washoe County School District has decided to offer it at every elementary school now.

Nevada System of Higher Education

College students who take 15 credits or more a semester – which is considered full-time – have a better chance at graduating. That’s according to Nevada higher education officials. And their philosophy seems to be paying off. 

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