Monday, April 1, 2013 | 5:50 p.m.
Gov. Brian Sandoval says he is adding $25 million to his education budget over the next two years to provide more full-day kindergarten classes and programs for students with limited or no proficiency in English.
Democratic lawmakers have been critical of the governor’s budget, in such areas as failing to reduce class sizes in the primary grades with some schools having 30 to 40 students in a class. They had proposed $310 million be added to Sandoval’s schools budget.
Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis, D-Las Vegas, said he was pleased with the governor's decision. But the Democrats will continue to push for more funds.
Denis said the schools have endured shrinking budgets during the economic downturn. “We have to look at the needs,” he said.
Sandoval has pushed a program that children should be able to read by third grade. And he said education is tops on his agenda.
“Prioritizing funds toward English language learners will target the most at-risk students in our state while additional funding will allow for a manageable infrastructure expansion of all-day kindergarten,” he said in a news release.
The governor intends to put an additional $10 million for additional all-day kindergartens at 32 schools across the state. And the additional $15 million will go toward English language learners, essentially doubling the state's investment in that program, he said.
The money comes from lower than-projected employee medical costs in the Distributive School Account; lower than projected Medicaid caseloads and a higher than projected federal Medicaid match.