In light of recent educator protests in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Kentucky, coupled with the funding challenges for our own teachers, Fund Our Future Nevada is calling on its legislators to restore the Room Tax revenue that rightfully belongs to our educators.
“Our teachers and gaming leaders advocated for this new tax to help retain and recruit teachers, but thanks to our legislators, this new tax has never directly benefited our teachers,” said Amanda Morgan, Legal Director at Education Nevada Now.
Known as the “Save Our Schools” Initiative, the IP1 Room Tax is a 3 percent room tax increase, promising to boost funding for Nevada’s K-12 public schools and help attract and retain teachers. To ensure IP1 actually increases public school funding, the law states that monies “supplement and not replace other money appropriated to fund K-12 public schools.”
However, since 2011 when IP1’s funds were to be distributed to all school districts, the legislature has instead used the funds to fill budget holes — a $1.2 billion total loss for students and teachers.
Nevada teachers have the third-worst salary in nation, when averaging their salary per students in class. Aside from being the 48th worst-funded state for education, Nevada teachers have the largest student-to-teacher ratio in the nation, according to data provided by the National Education Association.
“Our community deserves well-paid teachers, smaller classrooms, and to have well-resourced schools to appropriately serve our students. It is appalling that in light of our education challenges our legislature continues to skirt its responsibility to properly fund schools,” said Caryne Shea, Vice President for HOPE for Nevada, a public education advocacy group.
Starting today, the Fund Our Future Nevada coalition will run an aggressive social media campaign as it calls on legislators to commit to restoring the Room Tax funds as intended to support teachers and students — #ReturnTheRoomTax, #RoomTaxRebate.
“Legislators would like us to forget these funds were hijacked, but Fund Our Future members have not forgotten. We will remind everyone that these monies were meant for education and demand that lawmakers stop balancing the budget on the backs of our students,” said Morgan.