Nevada's Per-Pupil Spending Near Very Bottom in Nation

New numbers show Nevada is spending more money on education but that increase is still not enough according to a new federal report.

Chris Gonzales tells his four kids that there's always time for play but education comes first. Gonzales's oldest son is the only one in school. He's in fourth grade.

"It's very important in our family," Gonzales said. "I want him to be able to get a good education so he doesn't have to work hard like I have too."

Nevada is spending $6,399 per student, which is up 5.2-percent but out of 50 states Nevada is ranked near the very bottom at 46, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Kindergarten teacher Vikki Courtney sees what it's like not to have enough funding. She has 28 students in her class.

"Teaching is a great profession but sometimes there are a lot of kids and you don't always have the resources to do the best you can," Courtney said.

Terry Hickman, president of the Nevada State Education Association, says providing a better education will payoff for years to come.

"If we invest in our kids we'll have lower taxes and a better economy but you have to invest," Hickman said. "We can have a school system second to none."

Hickman says more funding could go towards smaller class sizes, full-day kindergarten or updated textbooks.

Right now, the money is spent on hiring new teachers and building new schools. Like many parents, Gonzales would like to see more funding per student.

"There's always more money they can give the kids because it's important," Gonzales said. "They are the ones who are going to need the education -- they'll be the ones running things."

Gonzales says, no matter how much money is spent he will spend time with his kids to make sure they get the message that education is a top priority.

Public schools across the country spent an average of $8,278 per student, which is up a little more than three percent compared to last year.

Email anchor Colleen May at cmay@klastv.com


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