Nevada school superintendent says new school programs working | SierraSun.com

Nevada school superintendent says new school programs working

Geoff Dornan
gdornan@nevadaappeal.com

Nevada Superintendent of Education Steve Canavero said Tuesday, Jan. 9, the new programs created by Gov. Brian Sandoval and lawmakers to address weaknesses in Nevada’s K-12 schools are working.

Canavero conceded with just a couple years worth of data, exactly how well the seven programs on the list are doing isn’t as clear as it will be in the future.

But he said the indicators are “that these programs will be successful.”

Sandoval and the Legislature pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into Zoom Schools, Victory Schools, Read by Grade Three, Underperforming Schools Turnaround, Social Worker Grants and Nevada Ready 21 Technology programs and the Great Teaching and Leading fund.

As part of the agreement to fund those programs, which required most of a $1 billion increase in the education budget, they committed to holding the programs accountable and measuring whether they were successful.

He said the Zoom Schools, for example, are enabling English Language Learners to perform better than ELL students in non-Zoom Schools.

Recommended Stories For You

Victory schools, he said, clearly outperformed non-Victory schools and Read by Three also showed positive indicators after providing students with reading coaches.

He said hiring more than 200 social workers to deal with issues including bullying has also won overwhelmingly positive support in the schools.

Canavero said as this biennium moves forward, there should be much more detailed data on how the different programs are performing for the next governor and 2019 Legislature to look at.

He made the comments as the Board of Examiners approved two contracts to continue evaluating how those programs are doing — a total of $615,000.

In addition, the board approved extending the “Critical Labor Shortage” designation for the Department of Public Safety through the end of this budget cycle. That designation enables departments to hire retirees to fill positions they have had trouble filling with new hires, allowing those employees to continue receiving their retirement while back on the job.

DPS Director Jim Wright told the governor and attorney general his department lost 107 sworn officers in 2017, with more than a third of them going to other agencies in the state for higher pay and better benefits. As of Monday, he said the department had 82 vacancies they’ve been unable to fill.

The board also approved $130,305 from contingency funds to add five staff to the legislatively mandated program that inmates not be issued photo identification until their identity and date of birth has been confirmed. There was testimony before lawmakers many inmates conceal their real identity because of past records, outstanding charges in other jurisdictions and issues such as back child support.

Under the law, they can’t get a drivers license or ID card unless their identity has been established and confirmed.