CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - More than a hundred people rallied Wednesday for better education funding as Nevada lawmakers continue to hash out a budget in the home stretch of the legislative session.
The crowd outside the Nevada Legislature, comprised of teachers and their supporters, donned red clothing to show their support for the nationwide "Red for Ed" campaign.
"We're here because we know that Nevada is desperate for funding," Ruben Murillo, president of the Nevada State Education Association, told the crowd.
The rally comes as a Las Vegas-area teachers union, the Clark County Education Association, ramped up pressure on lawmakers by announcing members had authorized a strike during the next school year if demands for pay raises and resources are not met.
Teacher strikes are illegal under state law.
A proposed budget from Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak's outlines a 3% cost of living pay increase for public school employees and a 2% merit pay raise.
The proposal has been called into question by the Kenny Guinn Center for Policy Priorities, which estimated that the governor's budget is short $107.5 million in providing those increases while keeping per-pupil funding the same.
A Democrat-backed bill would reroute funds from a 10% sales tax on retail marijuana away from the state's rainy day fund and toward education funding.
Some Democratic lawmakers showed up in support of the Wednesday rally.
"I do not resent anybody who is frustrated. I am with you. I promise you we're going to work incredibly hard," Assemblyman Edgar Flores told the crowd.
In Oregon, tens of thousands of teachers walked off the job earlier this month to demand more school funding. That walkout comes after other teacher activism nationwide last year.
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