Las Vegas Sun

May 25, 2022

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CARSON CITY:

Limits on class sizes not being realized

Rulffes says district doesn’t have the money

The Clark County School District and six other Nevada districts are not meeting state class-size requirements for the primary grades.

The districts say they could not afford to provide one teacher for every 16 students in first and second grades and one teacher for every 19 students in third grade.

Clark County has 17 students per class in grades one and two and 20 pupils per classroom in grade three.

Clark County Schools Superintendent Walt Rulffes cited a “lack of available financial support specifically set aside for the reduction in the pupil-teacher ratio in all of these grades.”

The other school districts that won’t meet the requirements are Lander, Lincoln, Lyon, Mineral, Nye, Pershing and Storey. Some of the small districts say it would be “cost prohibitive” to add an extra teacher or two in the primary grades where enrollment is dropping.

Keith Rheault, state superintendent of public instruction, said the Legislature funds the program based on the number of teachers. In the case of Clark County, he said teachers hired for class-size reduction have moved up the step and salary scale so it costs more to pay these teachers and the Legislature didn’t provide the additional money.

The 2007 Legislature set aside $294.9 million to finance smaller class sizes.

The districts are applying to the state Board of Education for a variance in the pupil-teacher ratio requirements.

Rheault said there have been requests for variances from districts every year since 1989, when the class-size reduction program began. The board, which meets Jan. 16, has been “fairly flexible” in granting variances, Rheault said.

•••

Nevada has a state flower, bird, rock, tree and other items. But it has no state insect.

Sen. Joyce Woodhouse, D-Las Vegas, wants to correct that and plans to enlist fourth graders to do research and make recommendations.

“It’s an academic project that entails science and social studies,” Woodhouse said.

Students will be requested to write short papers on why certain insects should get the designation. The insect must be indigenous to Nevada.

Woodhouse has submitted a bill for the 2009 Legislature to designate a state insect, once it is chosen.

The bill will help youngsters get involved in the legislative process, Woodhouse said.

Details on how the insect will be selected will be worked out next week.

•••

The 275 customers of Indian Springs Water Co. in Southern Nevada may face hefty increases in their monthly rates. A hearing before the state Public Utilities Commission is set for Jan. 28.

For a three-quarter inch pipe that serves most homes, the monthly rate would rise from $14.75 to $23. For those who use 1,000 gallons to 7,000 gallons a month, the current rate of 69 cents per 1,000 gallons would rise to $1.20 per 1,000 gallons.

There are also proposals for other increases such as for hookup, late payments and returned checks.

The extra revenue is needed to pay increased operating expenses and ensure continued operation, according to the company.

Consumers have until Jan. 23 to file protests with the commission. The commission has set a prehearing conference for 1:30 p.m. Jan. 28 in Las Vegas.

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