It is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the school environment for the foreseeable future. Everyone has seen the effects of the battered economy, but as educators, we have not yet felt the worst. According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, they now project the state budget shortfalls expected from COVID-19’s economic fallout will total a cumulative $555 billion over state fiscal years 2020-2022. This figure is for state shortfalls only and does not include the additional shortfalls that local and tribal governments and the U.S. territories face.
In Nevada, as we know, many of the cuts were directed at health and human services and K-12 education, which each make up about a third of the overall state budget. Governor Sisolak requested last month that all state agencies identify “budget reserves” of 12 percent from their requests.
A recent Pew analysis of national employment data found Nevada could lose more than 19% of its local educational workforce as a result of the pandemic – the most of any state. We all know that cuts to education can intensify inequality which can lead to economic problems down the line. We need to continue to look at protecting and improving education as an investment in our economy long term.
We need our elected officials to act fast to stop the damage of the COVID-19 pandemic from affecting our ability to provide students with a well-rounded education now as well as into the future.
The Nevada Music Education Association, in partnership with the Nevada American String Teachers Association (ASTA), the Nevada Choral Directors Association (ACDA), the Southern Nevada Band Association, Nevada’s Desert-Valley Chapter of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association (NDVC), and the Sierra Nevada Association of Kodaly Educators (SNAKE) believe that:
- That our state legislators continue to fully fund education in future budget proposals, including guiding school districts to use Title I, Part A; Title II, Part A; and Title IV, Part A funds for music education as Congress intended them to be used ;
- That Congress appropriate at least $200 billion specifically for education to states to avoid drastic underfunding of public education in the coming years. Without this funding and support for education at the state and federal level, arts education programs will be jeopardized, and students will lose access to the well-rounded education they deserve;
- And, most importantly, that Governor Sisolak support our students by fully funding education at $9,238 per pupil.
We are asking you to reach out to your elected officials in Carson City, your Nevada Senators and Representatives in Congress, and to Governor Sisolak with these requests to support our Nevada students. Fill out the form below, and feel free to add your own personal stories about how ongoing music education has helped your students cope with these difficult times. Together we will continue to thrive and ensure our students are provided a well-rounded education, including music and the other arts.