Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn intends to leave his successor with a budget that includes $100 million to help failing schools.
"This is really important with all the mandates of the
(federal) No Child Left Behind Act, said Guinn's press secretary,
Steve George. "It's important to the education process."
Guinn took the matter to the 2005 Legislature, which approved
$100 million in 2005, giving $78 million for innovative programs
and $22 million for a full-day kindergarten pilot program.
While Guinn will be out of office when the 2007 Legislature
meets, he's preparing a budget for fiscal 2007-08 and 2008-09. His
successor will have the opportunity to make changes before sending
the budget to the Legislature for approval.
The $100 million is in the base budget that the governor will
build on. Any money for kindergarten would have to be added on top
Guinn has not made a decision on whether to expand all-day
kindergarten, George said.
"It is something the governor will give strong consideration to
if the money is in the budget," he said.
Assembly Majority Leader Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, said the
Assembly Democrats would "push for complete full-day
kindergarten" in the 2007 session.
The Democrats got $22 million in 2005 to start kindergarten
classes next school year in an estimated 118 schools. Buckley said
about $40 million additional would be needed to complete all the
schools in Nevada.
The state Commission on Educational Excellence earlier this year
distributed $87 million to more than 470 public schools to start
innovative programs to boost lagging student achievement. It's
getting ready to take applications from schools for another $5
George Ann Rice, chairwoman of the excellence commission, said
the students involved in these programs won't be tested until March
or April next year to learn if there is progress. That will be in
the middle of the Legislature.
A $448,000 contract has been awarded to the Center for
Performance Assessment of Englewood, Colo., to evaluate the
programs. The center will make its first report in late June.
Another report will be made in January, and the final report is due
on June 30, 2007.