Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017 | 9:35 p.m.
Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford agreed with Gov. Brian Sandoval that the state's education system needs help but said a $60 million school voucher program “is the wrong priority.”
Ford of Las Vegas gave the Democratic response to the Republican governor’s plan for the future.
And the Democratic leader detailed some programs his party intends to pursue.
He said steps must be taken “to ensure fair wages and to ensure that women can earn equal pay for equal work in Nevada.” He said he wants to see Nevadans have the ability “to earn paid sick time on the job.”
“We also know that access to safe, affordable child care is a daily concern for many parents. His party intends to address those concerns.
Nevadans are carrying more than $7 billion in debt while going through higher education. The state should provide more affordable options to the students and that “means containing costs both at the community colleges and the traditional universities.”
“And we should work to lessen the burden of that debt so more Nevadans have the flexibility to pursue their dreams,” Ford said.
The majority agreed with Sandoval on the items of economic diversity and good education. But he diverged on the voucher plan for parents who want to send their children to private or religious schools.
“It is not fair to Nevada families to divert our limited resources toward private schools. Any amount of money directed to a voucher program will result in less money being made available to fund the public school system,” he said.
The community college system has the potential to train workers for the new era of job opportunity. And it can do it at lesser cost. He said the Democrats “will explore new opportunities to house workforce development programs within our community colleges and to create public-private partnerships that will help our students find stable long-term employment.”