Educating Nevada


One of the biggest challenges facing Nevada’s long term economic expansion is the lack of career and college readiness for adults and K-12 students. Nevada’s ability to leverage our existing resources, maximize economic opportunities, and sustain growth over the long term requires an educated workforce that is equipped with 21st century skills. To increase postsecondary access and success, Nevada must build a more durable pipeline across our educational and workforce systems to prepare Nevadans for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

The Guinn Center for Policy Priorities will analyze education policy in both K-12 and higher education systems, particularly as they relate to issues of opportunity and workforce development.

Areas of research include:


  • Higher education access and organization
  • Community college financing and governance
  • K-12 achievement
  • Science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and computer science programming
  • Performance metrics and accountability mechanisms
  • Parental engagement
  • Access and equity issues

Policy Reports

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do: Issues to Address in the Reorganization of the Clark County School District

Nevada has embarked on a process to reorganize the Clark County School District into local precincts by the beginning of the 2018-19 school year. An Advisory Committee and Technical Advisory Committee have been charged with crafting a plan to accomplish this goal. This policy report focuses on five critical issues the Advisory Committee should consider as it drafts the reorganization plan: community based communication, demographic and educational equity, funding equity, education facilities, and governance. (October 2015)

Executive Summary        Full Report     Infographic on CCSD demographics

Infographic on Equity Implications of CCSD’s Reorganization Proposal

CCSD FY 2014 Demographic and Academic Data in Excel

Interactive Maps: Click on the box in the upper right corner of the map below to enlarge and select different maps.

Integrated Implementation of Nevada Literacy and Intervention Programs

Three major K-12 initiatives approved by the 2015 Legislature include: Read by 3 (SB391), Zoom Schools (SB405), and Victory Schools (SB432). These three programs share many common goals and target similar populations. This policy brief recommends a framework for implementing these efforts in a comprehensive and integrated manner to maximize the impact on student achievement. It also includes specific implementation recommendations for the State Board of Education, Nevada Department of Education, and governing boards of school district and charter schools. (July 2015)

Executive Summary          Full Report

List of Interventions at Zoom and Victory Schools– Updated August 2015

Health Impact of Full-Day Kindergarten

In collaboration with other organizations, the Guinn Center contributed to a recent study examining the potential impact of full-day kindergarten on health outcomes: Full-Day Kindergarten in Nevada: A Health Impact Assessment (HIA). The purpose of the HIA study is to inform the Nevada Legislature as it considers expanding full-day kindergarten. This policy brief links the research and recommendations of the HIA study to legislation pending before the 2015 Nevada Legislature. (May 2015)

Related Legislation includes:

  • The Governor’s proposed budget to expand full-day kindergarten
  • SB 508, which funds kindergarten students at the same rate as other students beginning in FY 2018
  • SB 503, which implements the Breakfast after the Bell program
  • AB 206, which expands notification to parents of health issues identified during screening to include a list of any resources available in the community to provide appropriate medical attention
  • SB 405, which removes the sunset on requiring Clark and Washoe School Districts to conduct a sample of height and weight for students in 4th, 7th, and 10th grades.

Executive Summary         Full Report

Nevada Charter Schools: Improving Access to Categorical & Facilities Funding

Nevada’s public charter school students are entitled to receive a proportionate share of school funding from Federal, State and Local Sources. In practice, charter school students have experienced limited accessibility to State and Federal categorical funds compared to students at school districts. Charter schools also have limited access to facilities funding and must use their operations funding to meet these needs. The Guinn Center recommends ways the Legislature can improve access to funding for charter school students. (March 2015)

Executive Summary                   Full Report

Examining Nevada's Education Priorities: Which Initiatives are Worth the Investment?

Governor Brian Sandoval has proposed almost two dozen initiatives to help move Nevada’s education system into the 21st Century. The Guinn Center for Policy Priorities and Nevada Succeeds have co-authored a report that reviews empirical research to analyze which of these proposals are most correlated with improved student outcomes. Based on this review, the report ranks each initiative as high, medium, or low priority. The report finds that efforts to improve education outcomes do not work in isolation and that the quality of implementation is intrinsic to success.  (February 2015)

Executive Summary        Full Report

Testimony During 2015 Legislative Session

Education Budgets: Major Education Budget Initiatives, Early Childhood Education, Education Budget Closing 

AB 339: Appointed School Boards- Assembly Education

AB 394: Reconfiguration of School Districts- Assembly Education, Assembly Ways and Means

AB 448: Achievement School District- Assembly EducationAssembly Ways and Means, Senate Education

SB 391: Read by 3-Senate Education, Senate Finance, Assembly Education

SB 405 and 430: Zoom Schools- Senate Education

SB 405: Zoom Schools- Senate Finance, Assembly Education

SB 432: Victory Schools- Senate Education, Senate Finance, Assembly Education

SB 474: Great Teaching and Leading Fund- Senate Education, Assembly Education

SB 503: Breakfast After the Bell- Senate Education, Senate Finance, Assembly Ways and Means

SB 508: Modernization of the Nevada Plan- Senate Finance, Assembly Ways and Means

Nevada K-12 Education Finance

This fact sheet illustrates the breadth and complexity of the K-12 public school financing system. While the Nevada Plan is the primary source of funding for operations, schools also receive revenue from a variety of local, State, and Federal sources. There is significant variation in funding between school districts and there are funding disparities between school districts and charter schools.

Issues for the Legislature to consider in 2015 include whether the State should move to a formula based on the cost to adequately educate pupils, whether to implement funding weights for specific populations, how to treat categorical funds and outside tax revenue, how to count the number of students, how to phase in implementation of the formula, and what revenue sources should be used for a new funding formula. (February 2015)

Executive Summary                  Full Report

Interim Testimony

Testimony before the K-12 Public Education Funding Technical Advisory Committee (May 21 and 22, 2014)Video of May 21, 2014 testimony begins at 01:02:00 and video of  May 22, 2014 testimony begins at 00:04:48.

Testimony During 2015 Legislative Session

SB 508: Modernization of the Nevada Plan- Senate Finance, Assembly Ways and Means

Expanding Financing Options for Nevada's K-12 Facilities

School districts throughout Nevada have critical, unmet capital needs and currently have insufficient resources to fund repairs and build new schools. Existing financing tools rely largely on local funding and have not generated adequate revenue in a timely manner. In addition, the existing structure has increased disparities between school districts, given that each district has a different set of funding sources that it can use. This policy brief provides recommendations to expand the financing options available to school districts to meet capital needs. (February 2015)

Executive Summary       Full Report

Testimony During 2015 Legislative Session

AB 412: School Facilities Funding- Assembly Taxation

AB 445: Redevelopment and School Facilities- Assembly Government Affairs

SB 119: School Rollover Bonds-Senate Government Affairs, Assembly Government Affairs

SB 411: Public Schools Overcrowding and Repair Needs Committee- Senate Revenue, Assembly Taxation

Reforming Professional Development to Improve Literacy Outcomes in Nevada

The Guinn Center for Policy Priorities and Nevada Succeeds argue that improving professional development for teachers is an essential driver for improving the quality of instruction and literacy outcomes for students. This paper explores current shortcomings in the professional development system and makes recommendations for improvement. It also examines how funds available for professional development are currently being used and makes recommendations for how resources can be reprioritized. (July 2014)

Executive Summary           Full Report

Interim Testimony

Testimony on preliminary findings before the Legislative Committee on Education May 28, 2014. Video for the presentation by the Guinn Center and Nevada Succeeds begins at 05:55:43.

Testimony During 2015 Legislative Session

SCR1: Interim Study of Professional Development- Senate Legislative Operations

SB 391: Read by 3-Senate Education, Senate Finance, Assembly Education

SB 474: Great Teaching and Leading Fund- Senate Education, Assembly Education

Literacy Challenges in Nevada Schools

Outcomes on state and national reading assessments indicate that Nevada’s students face significant challenges in literacy. This policy brief describes the situation, outlines existing resources dedicated to addressing literacy, and identifies best practices adopted by other states to improve literacy in public schools. (March 2014)

Executive Summary       Full Report

Testimony During 2015 Legislative Session

SB 391: Read by 3-Senate Education, Senate Finance, Assembly Education

SB 474: Great Teaching and Leading Fund- Senate Education, Assembly Education

Educating Nevada Data and Resources

Interactive Charts

How were Nevada K-12 Revenues per pupil Affected by the Recession?

Click on an item in the legend to change the chart.

How have K-12 Expenditures Changed Over Time in the Intermountain West?

Click on an item in the legend to change the chart.

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