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Education: The cure spawns an even worse disease
by Andrew Barbano
Feb 20, 2014 | 967 views | 1 1 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The plan to beat the teachers' tax petition is worthy of Karl Rove. The onetime Sparks schoolboy would appreciate a strategy so smooth that it doesn't look like one.

TV spin for Gomorrah South: Nevada generates plenty of tax money for education. The problem lies with those greedy northerners and rural cowboys who take what should go to Las Vegas. Our lawmakers just need to get our money back.

TV spin for Sparks-Reno-Washoe: Ignore statewide statistics. Our local schools are among the best in the nation. Every time its budget gets cut, the Washoe County School District improves its graduation rate.

The outlines of this campaign emerged over the last few days.

At a meeting of an outfit imposingly named the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, its president, Tom Skancke, said "We're fixing the wrong problem. We don't need any more taxes. We've got to get our laws into the 21st century. This (education funding) formula is broken."

The Las Vegas Sun reported this justification: "In 2011, Esmeralda County received $17,508 per student while Clark County received only $5,068 per student."

Remember the old advice that figgers don't lie but liars figger?

Newly appointed Clark County school boss Pat Skorkowsky was in attendance and agreed with Skancke. Smart politician.

Nevada's smallest county, rural Esmeralda averages about 75 students total. Clark County/LV has about 320,000, far more over whom to average the substantial fixed costs of running a school district.

Before this November's balloting, education tax opponents will spend millions selling LV voters on that very creative but false dichotomy.

Up north, the taxophobes will sing a different song. Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) boss Mike Kazmierski pulled some stats out of his sales manual and turned them into a guest editorial for the Reno Gazette-Journal. (You know them, that friendly chain newspaper which last year complied with orders from Reno auto dealer/advertisers to kill the proposed tax increase for school repair and maintenance.)

Citing an EDAWN-funded study, Mr. Kazmierski asserted that Washoe schools rank among the best in the country.

"College readiness in all subjects: 18th in the nation, ahead of California and most other states."

These guys are concocting a perfect storm of divide and conquer. Las Vegas just needs a bigger piece of the existing pie and Washoe can easily do with less because Sparks-Reno schools improve as budgets are slashed. (The local chamber of intercourse noted exactly that almost two years ago.)

For details, go to the ever-expanding "We Don't Need No Education" section of

Nevadans love education. We just don't want to pay for it.

If you've got kids to educate, do them a favor and move somewhere else.

LIGHT-GUV LIGHTNING. Assemblymember Lucy Flores, D-Las Vegas, will announce her candidacy for lieutenant governor early next month.

Esté bien. Haga infierno. Be well. Raise hell.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
February 20, 2014
Mr. Barbano,

I would have to disagree with you on one point.

Nevadans don't love education.

Oh, Nevadans pay great lip service to wanting a great educational system and that we are all for preparing our next generation for college or career, but those sentiments are shallow and the actions of Nevadans speak louder than words.

Examples: Our state superintendent of education has no background in education. Here's a guy we can all rally behind? Other than photo ops, where he reads to kids, what has he done? Where will he lead public education?

Our State Board of Education president is Elaine Wynn. She may be a fabulous person, but what is her background in education? And since she is still associated with Wynn Enterprises, isn't that a conflict of interest? After all, isn't her business interest rather dependent on an uneducated workforce?

And lets not forget about the editorial by Randy Kirner, one of our state legislators. His take is that we can support our teachers with better evaluations. Forget about that we are the bottom of the barrel in educational funding, evaluations are the key to righting our educational ship.

I could go on but I'm sure you get the point. I've got kids, I like living here, and I'm sure there are a lot more people here that are also fed up with our State hypocrisy. So please, continue to raise hell.
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