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NCLB Outrages

NCLB Funds Snafu in Nevada

CARSON CITY -- The state Department of Education came under criticism Wednesday from legislators who fear that $26 million in federal funds from the No Child Left Behind Act will not be spent.

There was also criticism of the slow pace in developing a computer system to meet the requirements of the federal act.

"Somebody is dropping the ball" if the $26 million allotment to Nevada is not spent, Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio, R-Reno, said. He told Keith Rheault, the interim state superintendent of public instruction "Let's not pass the buck."

Rheault said the state has until September to spend the money, most of which is allocated to local school districts. He said the districts start the programs and ask for money.

He estimated the state receives $150 million a year in federal funds and returns only $300,000 or less than $1 per child.

Rheault said the department is keeping a close watch on that money.

The issue arose at the meeting of the Interim Finance Committee and Raggio directed Rheault to report to the next meeting, which will be either in March or April.

Rheault said if one local district does not spend its share of the money, it will be allocated to another school district. Raggio said the money should be used to reach the goal of the federal act, which is to raise the achievement level of students.

Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., had first raised the issue that the state was not spending its allotment of federal money. Jack McLaughlin, who is leaving as superintendent of public instruction at the end of this month, told Ensign in a Jan. 15 letter that the state has until Sept. 30 this year to use the money.

Ensign also said the state Education Department returned almost $800,000 for fiscal 1999 to the federal government. But McLaughlin said the state sent back $309,495 "which was less than 0.5 percent of the funding we were authorized to spend."

McLaughlin also told Ensign "As you and your colleagues in our delegation are well aware, in spite of Nevada's being the state that has the greatest percentage of land owned by the federal government, we remain near the bottom of the list of states receiving federal support for education, either in total or on a per-student basis."

Assemblyman Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas, was critical of the Education Department's development of the computer program called SAIN.

— Cy Ryan
Lawmakers criticize Education Dept. over No Child Left Behind funds
Las Vegas Sun


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