Education Initiative Qualifies For Nevada Ballot

By  | 

A group hoping to get voter support for a constitutional amendment requiring Nevada lawmakers to fund education before other parts of the state budget has qualified its proposal for the November ballot.

The Education First initiative, calling for Nevada lawmakers to fund education before other state programs, turned in 83,046 signatures in 15 counties, and Secretary of State Dean Heller said Wednesday that 64,193 signatures from 14 of those counties were valid.

The minimum requirement was for at least 51,337 signatures of registered voters, from at least 13 of the state's 17 counties, to qualify for the Nov. 2 election.

The initiative didn't qualify in Douglas County, and no petitions were turned in to election officials in Elko and Nye counties.

The initiative is being pushed by Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., and his wife, state Assemblywoman Dawn Gibbons, R-Reno, who expressed outrage over the last legislative session when Democrats and Republicans accused each other of holding education funding hostage in a dispute over tax increases.

A second group is pushing an initiative calling for Nevada schools to be funded at or above the national average. That group is led by the Nevada State Education Association.

If both initiatives are validated, voters must approve them in November and again in 2006 before they can amend the Nevada Constitution.

The NSEA proposal is among six initiative petitions still being validated by election officials around the state.