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April 26, 2015

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Sandoval calls for education overhaul, job cuts in State of the State address


AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

Gov. Brian Sandoval acknowledges the applause of lawmakers and guests after entering the Nevada Assembly chambers to deliver his first State of the State speech before a joint session of the Nevada Legislature in Carson City on Monday, Jan. 24, 2011.

Updated Monday, Jan. 24, 2011 | 9:08 p.m.

Sandoval's State of the State

Gov. Brian Sandoval, center, leads a standing ovation for a pair of Nevada servicemen who were decorated for their actions in Afghanistan, while making his first State of the State address before a joint session of the Nevada Legislature in Carson City on Monday, Jan. 24, 2011. Lt. Col Tony Millican, who is stationed at Nellis Air Force Base, received the Bronze Star and the Air Force's Lance P. Sijan Award for heroism. Spl. Ernesto Padilla, of the Nevada National Guard received the Purple Heart for wounds he suffered from a road side blast that tore his vehicle in half. Launch slideshow »

Grade Sandoval's State of the State address

What grade would you assign to Gov. Brian Sandoval's State of the State address?
F — 37.2%
D — 20.2%
A — 16.6%
C — 15.5%
B — 10.5%
What is your ZIP code?
What is your political party affiliation?
Democrat — 45.4%
Independent — 24.3%
Republican — 22.4%
Other — 3.6%
Libertarian — 2.4%
Green — 1.1%
Tea Party of Nevada — 0.7%
Independent American Party — 0.1%

This poll is closed, see Full Results »

Note: This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Sun Coverage

CARSON CITY -- Gov. Brian Sandoval is calling for an overhaul of the public school system, shifting $267 million in state costs to Nevada counties and decreasing funding to higher education to help solve the state's budget shortfall.

In his State of the State message Monday evening, he outlined a proposed $5.8 billion two-year budget that would consolidate 20 state agencies, cut state workers' salaries by 5 percent and freeze their merit and longevity pay. His cuts also include closing the antiquated Nevada State Prison in Carson City.

He said his budget and other proposals will lead Nevada “onto a new path, and I submit that it is one of progress and ultimate prosperity.” (The speech began at 6 p.m., but prepared remarks were released to the media before it began.)

His proposed budget would eliminate hundreds of jobs, with most of those coming in health and human services programs. Sandoval said he wants to pay workers based on their performance, rather than give automatic pay increases every year. He also advocates giving state workers bonuses for identifying waste in the bureaucracy.

The governor will soon sign an executive order creating the Office of Inspector General to work with the internal audit staff to assess the spending of taxpayer dollars. He will sponsor a bill in the Legislature that would sunset every licensing and advisory board by June 2013 so lawmakers can determine if they should continue to exist.

Sandoval instructed state gaming regulators to draw up rules and proposed laws to “provide a flexible environment for the technological resources that are the underpinning of modern gaming devices.”

On education, total funding for public schools would be reduced by 5 percent. The state’s basic support per pupil would be $4,918, or a decline of $270 per pupil. He also proposes giving school districts greater flexibility in spending their money.

He called for an end to teacher tenure to eliminate protection of seniority; evaluating teachers and principals on student achievement; creating a $20 million system to reward performance of effective teachers and ending so-called social promotion, requiring that students be able to read by the end of the third grade or not advance.

The governor is repeating his call for better charter school options and vouchers to make private school education a possibility for more families.

His proposed budget calls for a 17 percent reduction in all funds – state and federal – to the university system, which he says has failed. The four-year schools have a graduation rate of less than 50 percent, while the graduation rate for two-year colleges ranges from 4 to 20 percent.

He said he wants to give the university Board of Regents more autonomy to raise tuition, which is “well below our Western neighbors.” But 15 percent of any tuition increase would be reserved to help those who need financial aid.

With Nevada’s unemployment rate the highest in the nation, Sandoval is setting aside $10 million to give to employers to hire those seeking work. He wants to add $10 million in economic development funds to lure businesses to Nevada.

Sandoval said the cure for unemployment “is not more government spending but helping businesses create jobs. The key is to get Nevada working again.”

On transportation, he said in prepared remarks, "We need to improve ground connections by linking Las Vegas to Phoenix via Interstate 11 and to Southern California via high-speed rail."

Turning to federal health care reform, Sandoval said he thinks many of its points are unconstitutional, but the state must prepare for it. He said the state can't wait until civil suits are resolved and must plan for a major expansion of Medicaid, which could cost Nevadans $574 million between 2014 and 2019.

He is also advocating a change in the Nevada Public Employee Retirement System so future employees would come under a defined contribution plan. The state health insurance plan can no longer afford full health care coverage for all retirees, he said.

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  1. WOW : We have a real Govenor!!

  2. I see Governor Sandoval has emphasized on targetting the education system in Nevada for cost cuts...more than anything else.

    To make up for letting the filthy rich mining corporations/casino owners make more money, he has targetted teachers and the entire educational system.

    He clearly wants Nevada to get dumber. In order for the filthy rich to contribute campaign finances to his efforts.

    It is readily apparent that he don't want Nevada to get ahead. Not the people. Not small businesses. Not new businesses. Only the casinos. Only the mining interests. Everyone else that can't line his pockets with money can go to hell. Those that can't be manipulated are insignificant. He is only interested in those that can be manipulated. To make money off of.

    As far as education goes, Governor Sandoval wants minimal money spent for education.

    His entire goal is to get the most out of the filthy rich people.

    To educate people in Nevada is not his priority. He is not interested in that.

    His SOLE motivation is to incarcerate. Not educate.

    He wants Nevadans to get dumber and dumber and dumbest. Because that, and only that, lines his pocket with money. And affords him political greatness.

    He only wants us to turn into career criminals.

    He is not for Nevada.

    He wants us to turn into a third world country.

    I repeat....

    He only wants to make sure Nevada law enforcement incarcerates....

    ....and he is not interested in educating.

  3. TomD1228 states: "If Sandoval just shows up for work he'll surpass anything Gibbons did."

    TOTALLY and COMPLETELY agree with this assessment.

  4. Chunky says:

    Not much of what Mr. Sandoval proposes is very popular face value but at least he's making the hard / crappy decisions no one else was willing to make. This is not the same economy or world we've lived in the last 25 years.

    The State cannot afford to spend more than it takes in revenue anymore than a individual can. It's not that some of the programs are not worth funding if we can afford it but we can't; else we'll end up like California.

    Suck it up and balance the budget like households have had to do when their income drops or they've overspent! How hard can that be?

    That's what Chunky thinks!

  5. Recall the gov and elect Rory - the man with a workable plan.

  6. Chunky adds:

    If lotteries are profitable Nevada should amend the constitution and have one. It's not like we don't have all the other vices for sale in the state!

    That's what Chunky thinks!

  7. Dennis Williams,

    Actually, once created vouchers prove very popular among low-income parents. They have also been shown to provide statistically significant increases in student achievement and graduation rates among low-income children.

  8. Two things struck me as I read the transcript (I only caught a few minutes of it live.) One was this statement from the opening remarks:

    "Some believe government is the only solution to our current plight. I disagree. Unemployment, foreclosures, bankruptcy -- the cure is not more government spending, but helping businesses create jobs. The key is to get Nevada working again."

    I agree with that, but I have to ask, will he be able to do it? (And I sincerely hope he does.)

    The second was how he mentioned in his speech and again in the new conference that (and I paraphrase here) he and his team had to look at what they must spend instead of what they wanted to spend. Say what you want, but that is what every single one of us as an individual must do, and it is about time our government got that message, too. I only hope it is for real and not so much glitter.

  9. He is disgusting.

  10. A 5% hit can sting, but it's better than being unemployed (which would also increase the state's burden) and at the same time maintains service levels.

    The real question is why did the state say local governments must recognize collective bargaining while it does not? Why shouldn't local government have the same freedom to set wage levels that the state does?

  11. Only problem with the last line of the story is that the state of NV does not provide full retiree health benefits for all state retirees.

  12. "WOW: We have a real Govenor!!" -- Clyde Perkins, top of this comment list

    Clyde Perkins' spelling details exactly why its a bad idea to cut K-12 public education by 15% and Higher Education by 30% as Governor Sandogibbons wants to do. This will be the final result when all the education cuts are tabulated. This is Jim Gibbons budget warmed over. Take from the working people of this state and let gaming, mining, and banking skate by without paying their fair share. In the last few years while we all suffered, mining and banking made RECORD PROFITS, yet small businesses, teachers, and state workers bore the pain. Republicans and Democrats in the legislature need to stop this now.

    Brian Sandoval had a chance tonight to be a Governor of the people and he blew it. Wal-Mart thanks him and the foreign corporations that mine pieces of our state and take them across the ocean thank him, but his budget provides the working families of this state either with unemployment, pay cuts, benefit cuts, or all three in rapid succession. And the children of this state? Well, if your family is rich like B.S., you can go to private schools; but if you are working class people, you get more and more education funding cut with teachers who are paid less and less.

    This budget proves that Sandogibbons is cut from the same cloth as the last Republican who held that office-"Let them eat cake" indeed.

    He had his chance and he has picked his side-the Powerful and the Rich. Time for our side, the People, to have their turn.

    Call your legislator at 1-800-978-2878 and demand that this budget be rejected. Republicans and Democrats can do better without further damaging education, harming small businesses, and taking more money from the working class that would be spent instead in our economy.

  13. Translation:
    More free goodies for the fat cats.
    Less for Education.
    More Unemployed Nevadans.
    Tax breaks up the wazoo for "favorable business environment".
    Turn a blind eye, by way of abolishing oversight mechanisms, in order to facilitate a more "favorable business environment" & more profits for Big Business.
    Vouchers for himself & his wealthy cohorts.
    Shaft the Public Employees! Man, are THEY going to be "sharing the pain"! Apparently both now AND down the road. They are about as popular as the U.S. Congress.
    Just WAIT until they reap what they sow. Dang, will that be a stitch!

    ha ha ha ha!

  14. Are we sure old Jim Gibbers didn't go under the knife and buy some hair dye?

    The guy may look different, but he's reading from the same script.

    We need a leader, not a figurehead.

    We needed a leader... instead we got Brian.

  15. Teacher pay in Nevada, if you have been in a district for a number of years, has lagged dramatically behind the majority of the country.
    When the boom was at it's height, they HAD to increase salaries in order to attract the huge number of teachers needed to serve the multitudes, or no sane person would come to teach here.
    So, salaries came up. To around the middle of the pack.

    Of course, those new teachers were also paying over-inflated prices to buy in if they chose to make a commitment and own a home here. So now,
    they are making less money, owe more than their home is worth if they bought, and are looking at the stark reality of Governor B.S. throwing the A-Bomb at school districts.
    Additionally, there will be less money going to the already cash-strapped school systems.
    Agree with Dennis/Dipstick here that B.S. sounded a whole lot like an NPRI Libbertarrian...
    "Larger class sizes, 'no problemo!' facts back up our assertion that in other countries, class size does not matter!"
    "Vouchers are great fun and foster competion!"
    Well, that's a whole lotta hooey.
    These are nothing but subsidies for rich people.

    Per-pupil spending, already anemic at best, will take another hit. I know, I know, "jeez, how much money we gotta throw down that hole before we see results!" Well, the answer to that is MORE, not LESS. When you are near the bottom, and you start to cut, where does that leave us....let's calculate:
    Of course money ISN'T the ONLY thing, but it's sure one of the important ones.

    Check out this link from Ralston's column a short while back... if you want to gain at least a glimpse of why Nevader is sucking at Education, take a SERIOUS LOOK at this "Chances for Success" set of graphs:

    The cuts to Higher Ed is a whole other story, one of sticking our youth with more debt burden, while getting less of an education in the bargain.
    Bottom line:
    We are winning the Race to the Bottom, BIG TIME, and this will so NOT HELP!

  16. Seems to me the results of the poll on this page says it all:

    What grade would you assign to Gov. Brian Sandoval's State of the State address?
    F -- 38.1%
    D -- 19.6%
    A -- 16.8%
    C -- 14.9%
    B -- 10.6%