In the Democratic response, Senate Majority Leader Mo Denis, of Las Vegas, said Sandoval's education efforts fall short.
"During the 2011 session, Gov. Sandoval proposed significant amounts of cuts to our schools," Denis said in prepared remarks. "This year he is promising the world, but his policies won't change our schools soon enough."
Denis also questioned how Sandoval's budget would pay for his education initiatives while also proposing payroll tax cuts for businesses.
"We disagree with this approach," Denis said. "It places more of the burden on middle-class families while giving businesses even more generous tax breaks."The Legislature convenes Feb. 4. Sandoval also proposed expanding the national Jobs for America's Graduates program, which places a specialist in schools to assist potential high school dropouts. A pilot program operates in seven Nevada schools, and the governor wants to expand it to up to 50 additional schools and nearly 2,000 more students in the next year. In higher education, Sandoval wants to apply enough money to support the Millennium Scholarship Fund through 2017. The popular scholarship provides Nevada students money to attend Nevada colleges. After the governor's speech, Dan Klaich, chancellor of Nevada's higher education system, praised the governor for stopping cuts to public education, which has seen funding slashed during the recession. "There's a lot to be thankful for," he said. Sandoval called education "the foundation of economic growth," but said his greatest priority has been economic development itself. Sandoval listed companies â¿¿ such as Apple Inc., Urban Outfitters Inc. and NOW Foods â¿¿ that have brought capital investment and jobs to Nevada, and he praised economic development officials for their work to attract more. He even promised trade missions to Mexico and Israel, in addition to the missions he's already led to China, Korea and Canada. "I am committed to leaving no stone unturned â¿¿ no road not taken," he said in the speech.