Ranking Nevada’s Education

Patrick Gibbons

According to a recent study by the Tax Foundation, Nevada's resident tax burden ranks 49th in the country. In the eyes of Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley, that low tax burden correlates to low government funding levels and, as a result, produces Nevada's No. 44 rank in education funding per student according to the US Department of Education (Buckley claims we rank 47th while the Las Vegas Sun claims we rank 49th).

Not so fast. Check out these rankings.

  • Nevada actually ranks 25th in government revenue per resident, meaning our state government is more than "adequately" funded.

When including capital expenditures and school debt:

  • Nevada ranks 31st in K-12 education spending per pupil ($10,420).
  • Nevada ranks 26th in K-12 education spending per resident ($1,725).

So if Nevada's government and public education are funded at the median level of all states, where is the money going? Well, we rank:

  • Third in capital expenditures per student ($1,971)
  • Third in school debt per student ($12,600)
  • Second in school debt per resident ($2,086)
  • Second in interest on debt per student ($546)
  • Second in interest on debt per resident ($90)
  • First in school-debt-to-school-expenditure ratio (121 percent)

Nevada is blowing a fortune on building schools, and NOT on educating students.

Question: How much in taxes could residents save if Nevada's Legislature got more creative with education spending? Or how much more money could be pumped into the classroom if Nevada's Legislature got more creative?

Answer: If Nevada were simply as creative as Arizona and just increased its number of charter schools, Nevada could save $320 million a year on construction costs alone.

There. NPRI just solved about half the annual budgetary shortfall in just five minutes – all thanks to some proper information disclosure and a little creativity.

* Source: U.S. Census Bureau