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NRS Chapter 387 governs the funding of Nevada schools. NRS 387.195(1) requires each board of county commissioners to levy a tax of 75 cents on each $100 of assessed valuation of taxable property within the county for the support of the public schools. During the 2023 Legislative Session, SB503 was passed making per-pupil spending $12,863 for the 2023-2024 school year and $13,368 for the 2024-2025 school year. This is despite a State of the State address that boasted an unprecedented budget surplus. Meanwhile, according to the Census Bureau, other states are spending about double what Nevada spends per pupil, e.g., New York ($26,571); the District of Columbia ($24,535), which comprises a single urban district; Vermont ($23,586); Connecticut ($22,769) and New Jersey ($22,160). 1 As of 2021, Nevada remained relegated to the lowest fourth if states in per-pupil spending:

Residential redlining also negatively impacts education. Due to historical housing segregation, communities today still face the repercussions of past racist policies. Studies show that “[r]esidents who live in redlined areas pay higher interest rates and are denied mortgages more often than whites with the same credit and income,” 2 they also “pay higher auto insurance rates” 3 and “[h]omes in [B]lack neighborhoods are valued, on average, $48,000 less than homes in white neighborhoods with similar crime rates and amenities.” 4 On average, as of 2013-2014 local property taxes contributed about 36.4% of total public school revenue. 5 “The property tax is a critical funding source for elementary and secondary schools in the United States.” 6 Based on national averages, “the average nonwhite school district receives $2,226 less than a white school district.” 7 This results in nonwhite school districts getting $23 billion less than white districts, despite serving the same number of students. 8

Not only are students in lower-income, underfunded schools receiving a lesser- quality education, they are also subject to other formsof discrimination that have a ripple effect on their lives. “Because poverty, education, or lack thereof, and crime rates are interrelated, it makes sense that [B]lack children, who are more likely to live in undervalued homes inside underfunded school districts, are also more vulnerable to the criminal justice system. This is the real school-to-prison pipeline.”9 This crime-and-punishment scheme begins at the public-school level. Nationally, Black students comprise about 15% of students, but they account for 45% of all of the days lost due to suspension. 10 The ACLU’s research also showed that the same 15% of Black students represented 31% of students referred to law enforcement or arrested in the 2015-2016 school year. 11 If all non-white students are counted, that number jumps to 60% of students referred to law enforcement or school related arrests. 12 These numbers show the disparate impact to non-white students that stems from historical discrimination.

As litigators for justice, we cannot ignore the detrimental effect that our education policies have on our youth and the future of our state. According to the Guinn Center, “Nevada ranks second when measuring the largest school district as a percentage of total enrollment.” 13 The ACLU’s research has shown that Black students in Nevada “are 3.4 times more likely than white students to be subject to a school-related arrest, and students with disabilities account for 25 percent of arrests at school (but are only 12 percent of the student population).” 14 The ACLU also found that CCSD police have referred more than 22,000 students to the criminal justice system since 2013, an increase of 111% between 2013 and 2017. The rate at which youths were sentenced to confinement at the Clark County juvenile detention center went up by 27% in the same period. 15

In my recent cases, I have noticed an alarming trend. A large percentage of my clients who are incarcerated have juvenile records. An overwhelming percentage of these individuals were tried as adults and their juvenile- tried-as-adults convictions were later used against them to label them habitual criminals and garner long sentences. According to the Juvenile Justice Annual Report 2022 report by the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Child and Family Services, Juvenile Justice Programs Office, Black youth make up 2.3% of the youth population in Nevada in FY 21 but 22.23% of referrals to the system. In short, our schools are failing our youth, and in particular, youth of color. Nevada cannot progress while our children, its greatest resource, are deprived of an effective and equitable education. The disparate impact on our population cannot be ignored. The 2023 Legislative Session made several steps in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go on the path to remedying decades of harm. Our schools need to pivot from a historical downward trajectory and stop criminalizing our kids. If we are to come close to catching up to the rest of the country, and even the world, we must take a realistic look at the saga of education in Nevada and work together to correct the dysfunction of the past. Through policy, legislation and if necessary, litigation, we can advocate for our youth and empower them with the tools to navigate this wold and thrive, lest we end up with a future where our youth grow up using the tools they acruire in the juvenile and adult criminal justice system.

Andréa was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and emigrated to the United States as a child. Andréa has worked on various types of civil matters on both the plaintiff and defense side, ranging from personal injury, premises liability, medical malpractice, and bad faith to commercial litigation, administrative & regulatory law, and securities litigation. In her roles as a paralegal, a law clerk, and as an attorney, Andréa participated in multiple trials resulting in a jury verdict, as well as arbitrations, short trials and appeals. Andréa is Portugese and Spanish, and conversational in French.


  2. Michael Harriot, Redlining: The Origin Story of Institutional Racism, The Root, April 25, 2019, retrieved from:
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  5. Andrew Reschovsky, The Future of U.S. Public School Revenue from the Property Tax, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, July 2017.
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  7. EdBuild report February 2019.
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  9. Michael Harriot, Redlining: The Origin Story of Institutional Racism, The Root, April 25, 2019, retrieved from:
  10. Amir Whitaker, Federal Data Shows Public Schools Nationwide Are a Hotbed of Racial Injustice, ACLU, August 30, 2018. Retrieved from:
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  12. U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, 2015-16 Civil Rights Data Collection, School Climate and Safety Report, retrieved from:
  13. See:
  14. Funding Nevada`s School-To-Prison Pipeline Is Not The Solution, retrieved from:
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