Nevada Gov Admin Touts Education Investment, but Few Details

CARSON CITY, Nevada (AP) — Nevada’s new governor’s chief of staff said Friday the administration plans an “unprecedented investment” in K-12 education — but what is it? did not provide details on what would involve

At a 15-minute roundtable, Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo’s chief of staff, Ben Keekheffer, also vowed the administration would pursue “all forms of school choice.”

Keekheffer also laid out his prospects for higher pay for state employees, saying Lombardo, who was elected in November, will continue to pursue his key campaign promises despite working with a Democratic-dominated Congress. Stated.

He also announced an executive order rescinding all remaining COVID-19 emergency executive orders. Many of them have been lifted gradually over the past few months after then-Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak ended his own emergency orders. Kieckhefer described the order as “mainly a cleanup” from the orders on the books.

Another executive order tasked the Department of Administration with streamlining and approving the state’s hiring and retention processes to improve the state’s 24% vacancy rate. It also directs the state’s hiring process to return to pre-pandemic operations.

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“Starting next fiscal year, we expect everyone to return to normal hours in our physical offices,” said Keekheffer.

Keekheffer said the administration is considering pay increases for state employees, and the exact amount will be revealed in a speech by Lombardo on Jan. 23.

Lombardo took office earlier this week, pledging solidarity with the Democratic-dominated Congress while pushing conservative causes at the heart of his campaign, particularly school choices, criticizing him for being “vulnerable to crime.” vowed to repeal the Criminal Justice Reform Act.

Lombardo’s other goals include abolishing the system of mailing ballots to all registered voters in Nevada and diversifying Nevada’s economy, which relies heavily on tourism and gaming. increase.

Further details on the investment in education will be announced during the Governor of Lombardo’s speech.

Kieckhefer also did not commit to doubling state education funding. This is an item Sisolak proposed in the budget after he lost re-election to Lombardo.

Former state senator and AP reporter Keekheffer said, “We have accepted the previous administration’s recommendations on our advice, but we have decided to make our own decisions as to what we think is best for the state. Become.

Lombardo vowed to become America’s “education governor” by promoting school choice and floating charter school expansion on the campaign trail.

“We believe in this kind of holistic school selection,” Keekheffer said. “This includes choices within the private system, choices within the traditional public system, and choices within the public charter. We have a lot of space to offer.”

During the campaign, Lombardo told the Nevada Independent that he could not tell whether Nevada’s public schools were underfunded and would determine whether funds were properly allocated to the various school districts. He said a “full audit of the system” should be done “from day one” in order to do so. It is unclear if an audit is planned. In a statement in response to questions about the audit, spokesperson Elizabeth Ray said Lombardo would bring “accountability and transparency measures” to be discussed in state speeches. Stated.

Asked if the initiative would falter because Democrats now have a majority in the state Senate and an overwhelming majority in Congress, Keekheffer said the administration would find ways to “progress aggressively” and work with Congress. said it would.

“We didn’t give up on the basic campaign platform before we started,” says Kieckhefer. “That would be a silly business.”

Stern is a Corps member of the Associated Press/Reports for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms. Follow Stern on Twitter. @gabester326.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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