Douglas braces for new funding plan

Bus drivers practice their routes in preparation for the start of school.

Bus drivers practice their routes in preparation for the start of school.


One of the wealthier school districts in Nevada, Douglas County has long exported property tax to support more impoverished districts.

But under a new pupil centric funding formula approved by the Legislature, the state will take all of the local funding for districts across the state and divide it based on not just how many students there are, but also the type of students.

“This takes all of the local taxes and scoops them up into one big pot and then distributes it on a per student basis,” Superintendent Keith Lewis said. “We’ve argued that this is one of the most expensive school districts to live in the state of Nevada. They looped us in with Carson, Lyon and Storey counties. It’s one of the areas where we’re continuing to fight.”

Lewis said the Legislature cut every district’s budget by .69 percent to balance them out, which will cost Douglas $401,000.

“We will have some adjustments come December,” he said. “It’s not a huge alarm. Looking forward, we know we have hold harmless for two years and we have next session to work on the pupil centric plan.”

One benefit of the new funding plan is that it fully supports special education.

District Chief Financial Officer Sue Estes said that is $4.2 million the district won’t have to transfer to support that program.

“The reason we are OK is that special ed has never been funded in total,” she said. “That number saves us for the first and second year but being held harmless for 7-8 years will eventually be eaten up in just salaries and benefits.”

Senate Bill 439 was approved by the Legislature in 2019 and would replace the Nevada Plan, established in 1983, that divides school funding in the state based on student enrollment.

The new funding plan would apportion funding to school districts based on specific categories of students, including those considered at-risk, English language learners and students who are gifted and talented.


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