The decades-long fight to dramatically boost Nevada’s K-12 education funding has been waged in school boardrooms and legislative chambers, with incremental increases notched along the way, but now that adequacy battle is headed to the courtroom.
A parent coalition filed a lawsuit on March 4 against the State of Nevada in a bid to unlock more money and end a status quo-mentality they say has inhibited student progress for generations. The complaint — filed in the First Judicial District Court in Carson City — argues the state has failed to meet its constitutional obligation to provide sufficient resources for public schools, harming children in the process.
The lawsuit names the Nevada Department of Education, State Superintendent Jhone Ebert and the Nevada State Board of Education as defendants. Educate Nevada Now, an equity-focused advocacy group, is supporting the litigation as co-counsel along with the Wolf, Rifkin, Shapiro, Schulman & Rabkin law firm.
“It is by now clear that the political branches of Nevada government are unable to remedy the deep constitutional infirmities of the statewide public education system, and so this lawsuit, if unfortunate, has become necessary,” according to a draft of the complaint obtained by The Nevada Independent.
The litigation marks a new chapter in the quest to improve achievement for Nevada’s 500,860 students, including 70,000 who are learning English as a second language and nearly two-thirds who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. Another 63,000 students receive special-education services, while about 10,000 students are enrolled in gifted and talented education (GATE) programs.
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