Las Vegas Sun

November 15, 2018

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Education funding a top issue for students at Sisolak Q&A


Christopher DeVargas

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Sisolak speaks with students at Liberty High School during a question-and-answer session on Friday Oct. 5, 2018.

A group of about 30 senior government students at Liberty High School questioned Nevada’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate today about his plans to fund education.

Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak answered questions on topics from school funding to safety to whether he would accept campaign money from the National Rifle Association.

Sisolak spoke alongside Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee, who criticized opposition to the Commerce Tax, passed with bipartisan support under Gov. Brian Sandoval to help fund education. Sisolak said he is against sending public dollars to private schools.

“We cannot take one dollar out of the public school system,” Sisolak said. “We have to put every dollar we can into the system.”

GOP gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt has not responded to a request to visit the school, teachers said.

“We’ve visited a number of schools over the past few months, and we’re looking forward to visiting more,” Laxalt campaign spokesman Parker Briden said.

“Adam has pledged to increase education funding by $500 million, make sure money gets into the classroom and teachers are paid what they deserved, focus on career technical education, and give parents more options,” Briden said. “Meanwhile all Steve Sisolak has done on education is double student tuition while on the Board of Regents. He has no plan other than to launch false attacks.”

Laxalt has said he does not support the Commerce Tax and that there are other sources of revenue for the state to make up for its loss to education funding. He supports school choice programs such as education savings accounts, which have not been funded in Nevada.

On school safety, Sisolak said he would not support arming teachers.

He said school security cameras need to be improved so police can access them in the event of an emergency, and schools should have lockdown systems to respond to threats.

One student asked whether Sisolak would accept campaign money from the NRA. Sisolak said he would not.

He said there are people on no-fly lists who can buy guns without background checks, and domestic abusers can buy guns the same day they have a restraining order issued against them. Sisolak said the state can be doing more.

“The citizens in the state of Nevada passed background checks,” he said. “That means we should implement background checks.”

Students who attended the lunchtime question-and-answer session were offered pizza and soda in the school library.

Some students waiting to take a photo with Sisolak after the event talked about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Young people have been mobilized this election season, said Inslee, chair of the Democratic Governors Association. He told reporters that Nevada’s gubernatorial race is a top priority for the organization.

“The fact that the younger generation is very mobilized and are going to vote in unprecedented numbers, and already have in the primary, is very promising for our candidates across the country,” Inslee said.

The General Election is Nov. 6. Early voting starts Oct. 20. Voters can register online through Oct. 18.