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August 3, 2015

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Governor signs 4 ‘groundbreaking’ education bills

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CARSON CITY – Four education bills making it easier to reward high-performing teachers and get rid of ineffective teachers have been signed into law by Gov. Brian Sandoval.

The bills overhaul the makeup of the state Board of Education, giving the governor more authority and creating a new board to oversee charter schools.

Sandoval called these “groundbreaking education reform bills.”

Assembly Bill 229 requires each school district to create a program of performance pay for the recruitment and retention of teachers and administrators. Starting in July 2013, evaluation of teachers and administrators will be based at least 50 percent on student achievement.

A teacher who receives an unsatisfactory rating for two consecutive years will be deemed a probationary employee who is easier to fire. Assembly Bill 225 provides that a probationary employee who receives notice that he or she won't be retained is entitled to an expedited hearing.

Senate Bill 197 gives the governor authority to appoint a state superintendent of public instruction. The superintendent is now appointed by the 10-member elected state school board. The superintendent also will be a member of the governor’s cabinet.

Under the new law, one member of the state board will be elected from each of the state's four congressional districts and one member each will be chosen by the governor, the Assembly speaker and the Senate majority leader.

There will be four non-voting members on the school board – one from a local school board, one being a local school superintendent, one named by the university regents and a student from public schools.

Also created is a state Public Charter School Authority to regulate and judge the effectiveness of charter schools. Senate Bill 212 says two of the authority members will be appointed by the governor, two by the Assembly speaker, two by the Senate majority leader and a representative from the Charter School Association.

In signing the bills, Sandoval issued a statement that said, “We have replaced traditional tenure with an evaluation system that allows for the removal of ineffective teachers from the classroom and dramatically alters the practice of using seniority as the only factor in school district layoffs.

“Other factors including performance and effectiveness must now be included in teacher evaluation as will student achievement data,” the governor said.

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