Lawmakers are considering shelling out close to $1 million on a study that could help break up the Clark County School District.
Assembly members reviewed the financial details of AB394 on Monday in the Assembly Ways and Means Committee.
Republican bill sponsor Assemblyman David Gardner said the measure would charge an interim committee to study how to break up the nation’s fifth largest school district into five evenly divided school precincts before the 2017-18 school year.
Legislative Council Bureau head Rick Combs said the study could cost around $800,000 in order to hire an outside consultant that would analyze demographic and geographical information in order to fairly create five separate districts.
“We want to make very, very sure that every precinct will receive the same amount of funding and we’re not creating haves and haves-not,” Gardner said.
The interim committee would be made up of lawmakers, legislative staff and members of the public and would be required to hold numerous public meetings to present the study before officially taking effect in June 2017.
Combs said that his staff generally conducts around three interim studies per year and that lawmakers would need to decide to prioritize the breakup study before the end of the legislative session.
Gardner said an overseeing body would continue to exist in order to negotiate issues like transportation contracts and substitute teachers and would ensure school funding remained the same.
The measure also gives districts to ability to consolidate and combine into larger bodies, which Gardner said could help rural school districts.
Clark County teacher’s union head John Vellardita said the measure shouldn’t be a top-down directive and was moving too quickly to ensure that a break-up would be done fairly.
“We think this bill is being fast tracked to the detriment of hundreds of thousands of students,” he said. “In short, this is zip code education.”
Gov. Brian Sandoval said in his January state of the state address that he would support legislation allowing for local governments to “create smaller school districts in our urban counties.”
The measure originally would have allowed local municipalities in Clark County to apply to break off independent school districts, but was entirely scrapped and amended earlier in April to include the study and mandatory breakup.