Sandoval makes education priority in 'State of the State' address
CREATED Jan. 16, 2013
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Addressing all Nevadans, Governor Brian Sandoval took to the podium for his 'State of the State' speech, Wednesday, with a sharp focus on education.
"I believe the future of Nevada's students is bright," Sandoval said.
After education cuts last legislative session, the governor is proposing to reinvest $135 million in Nevada's school children.
"A quality education is the key to economic growth," Sandoval said. "The key to improving quality of life in our state."
Sandoval said he'll tackle the issues of overcrowded classrooms and hold teachers accountable, but Democrats said that's not enough.
"The governor's budget isn't going to help my son who is forced to sit in a crowded classroom where his teacher is dividing her time between 35 students," State Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis said.
Education leaders, who responded to Sandoval's speech, said the governor's proposals sound good on paper, but they question where he'll get the money to fund education without reforming the state tax code.
"What the governor failed to do and it's a failure long standing in the state - is to fix a broken tax structure," said Gary Peck of the Nevada State Education Association
Educators fear Sandoval is balancing his budget on the backs of middle-class families without calling on businesses to pay their fair share.
"His plan fails at providing immediate relief to middle-class families," Denis said.
Sandoval admits the state still has a long road ahead fixing the education system.
"These are small steps, but they are steps to build on," Sandoval said.
Beyond education, the governor said he'll also focus on job growth. He said the state unemployment rate is falling fast and state workers will have to take less furlough days this year.