The Instruction Gap

A Ten Year Study of Education Spending in Nevada

By Judy Cresanta
  • Thursday, February 16, 1995

Few issues are as important to the future of Nevada as the education of our children. Consequently, Nevada taxpayers -- while justifiably skeptical of other government programs -- have traditionally been willing to increase funding for education.

A widespread assumption that quality education is inextricably linked to the amount spent within districts and among states, and has led to pressure for increased spending on schools. As a result, public education budgets have progressively increased from year to year. Unfortunately, increased spending has not resulted in improved student achievement as measured by literacy rates or academic achievement. A careful examination of the Nevada Department of Education's spending patterns indicates that Nevada's taxpayers may not be getting what they are paying for with their education dollars.

This study was designed to answer the question: If the instructional share of overall education spending is found to have steadily declined over the last ten years, how has the funding been redistributed and what impact (or lack, thereof) has this had on student outcome as measured by SAT scores? The results of this study will shed light on shifting spending priorities within the state's schools and aid in legislative budgeting decisions made during the 1995 session and beyond.

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