CCSD schools receive boost from new funding formula

LAS VEGAS - The dust is settling after state lawmakers wrapped up the 2017 legislative session in Carson City and the picture has become clearer on how education will be funded.

Lawmakers have been working for several years to implement a weighted funding formula to help schools better cover education costs.

Governor Brian Sandoval has been a big proponent throughout his tenure as governor but what is new is that the new funding mechanism coincides with CCSD's reorganization.

Individual schools will now control the bulk of their budgets. One school that will benefit is C.C. Ronnow Elementary School.

"It was very good at the size, it was," said 5th grader Leisey Warren. "I think if there were more kids in my classroom, then my teacher would have probably went out of his mind."

Leisey Warren doesn't have many complaints about her time at C.C. Ronnow Elementary school.

"I have felt some of the kids in my classes' backpacks, and they would be really heavy with papers and books, and if we could keep everything just on one iPad, that would be really nice," Warren said.

While Ronnow doesn't have iPads for its students, the school is making the most of its budget which Principal Chris Popek says has been lean.

"It's just making sure that every dollar goes toward the students, and when funding is tight, you have to make sure that's the top priority," Popek said.

Ronnow finds itself on an island. It has a similar student makeup as the elementary schools that surround it, but those schools receive more state dollars.

"We're not a zoom school, or victory or turnaround, so we're not receiving as much funds as some of of our neighboring schools, so when we receive additional funding, we expect to have immediate impact on our achievement," Popek said.

Last year, schools received nearly $5,600 per student. That number goes up to nearly $5,900 this coming school year.

Nearly all of Ronnow's students are on free or reduced lunches and under the new formula, the school gets an extra $1,200 for each child.

It's money school administrators and organizational teams will quickly find uses.

"Looking at a sustainable reading center, looking at an extended school day that's sustainable, providing high-quality professional development from experts that could cost money and also creating a parent center," Popek said.

There was a proposal to double the funding for each student with a disability and give one-and-a-half times the money for at-risk or English Language Learner students.

However, it would have cost an extra $1.4 billion over the next two years -- nearly 1/5 of the state budget.
 


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