Clark County School Board delays decision on seeking property tax increase

Gun-shy about asking voters for another property tax increase after hearing a resounding 2-to-1 “No” 15 months ago, the Clark County School Board on Thursday balked at deciding whether to repeat the request on November’s ballot.

“The longer we wait to make a decision, the clearer it is to me that we’re asking in 2016,” said board member Carolyn Edwards after district staff listed the pros and cons of a ballot question in 2014 versus 2016. “No decision is a decision.”

Staff also ran through a list of why the ballot question failed so overwhelmingly in November 2012.

The recession.

Lack of trust in elected officials and the district’s claimed “need.”

Several board members agreed that they didn’t give themselves enough time to make the case to voters by waiting until Feb. 9, 2012, to decide to pose the ballot question.

The board was only four days away from the same situation on Thursday when it had its first discussion on the possible ballot question, meaning it probably will come to a decision even later than it did in 2012.

“Let’s make the decision, 2014 or not,” board member Deanna Wright said.

Considering Thursday’s non-decision and staff’s pros-and-cons lists favoring 2016, it seems likely that voters won’t face the question for another two years. For that election, voter turnout is expected to be higher because of the presidential race and the district probably won’t be up against another tax initiative for schools.

The teachers union Nevada State Education Association is pushing for a business margins tax in 2014 that would fund schools. Higher turnout favors education initiatives, Associate Superintendent and district lobbyist Joyce Haldeman said.

But the district is in desperate need of capital funds — not provided by the federal or state governments — to replace schools’ failing equipment and build campuses for expected growth, according to district Chief Financial Officer Jim McIntosh.

He asserted that “conservatively” the district needs $5.3 billion to cover the capital costs of its 357 schools and building new schools over the next decade.

He said $160 million to $200 million a year would be used to replace school systems, such as industrial-sized air conditioners, which are beyond repair. That amount comes to about $2 billion over a decade.

The majority of the $5.3 billion need is to improve school infrastructure to current standards, replace aging schools, build new schools and upgrade classroom technology, McIntosh said.

A new elementary school costs $25 million. A middle school costs $45 million, and comprehensive high schools run about $105 million.

The greatest need for new construction is for elementary schools, which are now 13 percent over their maximum student capacities, on average. If a new elementary were to open today in a crowded area, it already would meet the district’s crowding triggers to switch to a year-round academic year to fit all of the zoned students, McIntosh said.

However, $5.3 billion is aiming high.

A successful bond initiative would provide $1.3 billion over a decade, a quarter of the $5.3 billion needed, if successful in 2014, McIntosh said. A 2016 bond initiative would provide an estimated $2.1 billion because the district will have less debt to pay off at that time, he said.

Despite more money, waiting until 2016 means a new school wouldn’t be opened until 2021 if county voters support the bond, McIntosh warned.

What will the district do in the meantime to curb school crowding and keep schools with failing systems open, Edwards asked.

Will students of schools closed for safety reasons, such as a non-functioning air conditioners, attend a nearby school at night?

“If we don’t have a plan in place, we’re in trouble,” she said.

Previously, the district used $4.9 billion from another bond — approved in 1998 — to build 101 new schools and 11 replacement schools over a decade, accommodating the boom of students during that time period. The district grew from 203,000 students to 311,000 students during that decade.

Only $47.3 million of that bond revenue remains, which “isn’t a whole lot of money for a district our size,” McIntosh said.

Currently, the district has approximately 315,000 students, and officials are expecting the flatlined enrollment of the past few years to end as new housing developments come online.

A school’s student capacity can be increased 20 percent by switching to a year-round academic calendar. But year-round schools cost $308,000 more a year to run, board member Patrice Tew said.

That money probably would come out of the district’s operating budget, meaning fewer resources in the classroom, according to district staff.

“This is ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t,’ ” Tew said of the choice between 2014 and 2016 ballot questions.

However, a worsening situation of more year-round and aging schools could result in more favorable chances for a ballot question in 2016, noted several district officials.

Contact reporter Trevon Milliard at tmilliard@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0279.

ad-high_impact_4
News
Tate Elementary shows academic progress after categorical funding
Students at Tate Elementary in Las Vegas has benefited from a program to boost education funding in targeted student populations, known as categorical funding. One program called Zoom helps students who have fallen below grade level in reading. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Three Square helps TSA workers
Three Square Food Bank donated over 400 care bags to TSA workers affected by the government shutdown Wednesday, filled with food, personal hygiene products and water.
Las Vegas furniture store donates to Clark County firehouses
Walker Furniture donated new mattresses to all 30 Clark County firehouses in the Las Vegas Valley, starting today with Station 22. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mount Charleston Gets Heavy Snow, Fog
Mount Charleston saw heavy snow today, and fog in lower elevations as a cold front swept across the Las Vegas Valley. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Krystal Whipple arrested in Arizona
Krystal Whipple, charged in the killing of a Las Vegas nail salon manager over a $35 manicure, is expected to return to Nevada to face a murder charge.
Holocaust survivor on acceptance
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, talks about the most important message for people to understand from her life and experiences.
Holocaust survivor speaks about telling her story
Holocaust survivor Celina Karp Biniaz, who was the youngest person on Schindler’s List, tells of opening up about her experiences during Sunday’s event at Temple Sinai.
Jesus Jara State of the Schools address
Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara delivers his State of the Schools address on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Michael Naft sworn in to Clark County Commission
Michael Naft, chosen by Gov. Steve Sisolak to be his replacement on the Clark County Commission, was sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES Opening Party in Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace
CES conventioneers packed Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, and let loose as they danced to DJs into the night. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas police piecing together details of fatal shooting
Six hours after the fact, Las Vegas homicide detectives worked to reconstruct the scene of a shooting early Jan. 7 that left one man dead in the southeast valley. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dyer Lawrence explains college football playoff system proposal
Las Vegan Dyer Lawrence has a new idea for a college football playoff system that includes a unique scheduling component called National Call Out Day. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death row inmate Scott Dozier found dead in his cell
Nevada death row inmate Scott Dozier is dead. Dozier’s death ends his legal odyssey, which began in 2007 when he was convicted in the 2002 murder of Jeremiah Miller, but does little to clarify what’s next for Nevada’s death penalty.
I-15 southbound near Primm closed after ‘major crash’
A rollover crash Saturday morning involving at least nine vehicles on southbound Interstate 15 near Primm caused an hourslong traffic delay. Traffic was backed up to Sloan, live traffic cameras show. (Rio Lacanlale/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death Valley visitors deal with shutdown
Visitors staying at the Furnace Creek Campground were forced to move from the campground following health and safety concerns due to lack of resources during the partial government shutdown at Death Valley National Park in Calif., on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019. Richard Brian Las Vegas Review-Journal @vegasphotograph
Half of homicides in Henderson for 2018 domestic violence related
Lt. Kirk Moore of the public information office of the city of Henderson police department speaks to the Review-Journal in Henderson, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. Henderson saw a slight increase in homicides in the past year. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak stops by Las Vegas Boys and Girls Club
Governor-elect Steve Sisolak kicks off his tour to Carson City, which will take him from Las Vegas, through Tonopah, and up to the capital city. First stop is the Downtown Boys & Girls Club.
Certificates for renewing wedding vows in Clark County
The Marriage License Bureau in Clark County began issuing a Certificate of Vow Renewal to married couples who are renewing their wedding vows on Jan. 3, 2019. (Shea Johnson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas flu season better than last year (so far)
Dr. Fermin Leguen, chief medical officer and director of clinical services at the Southern Nevada Health District, said there were 24 flu-related deaths at this point in the flu season. No deaths have been reported so far this year. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
The Las Vegas Valley’s First Baby of 2019
The first 2019 baby in the Las Vegas Valley was Melialani Chihiro Manning, born at 12:10 a.m. at Henderson Hospital. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas NYE Fireworks - VIDEO
The full show: A spectacular view from the rooftop of the Trump International Hotel as 80,000 pyrotechnics illuminated the Las Vegas Strip at the stroke of midnight. Fireworks by Grucci choreographed launches from the Stratosphere, the Venetian, Treasure Island, Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Aria and MGM Grand.
Snow in Henderson on New Year's Eve morning
Light snow flurries in Anthem Highlands in Henderson on Monday morning, the last day of 2018.
Sources: Henderson Constable may face more charges
Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell may face additional charges ... stemming from his spending of county funds, sources said. Mitchell was indicted earlier this month on five felony theft and fraud charges ... after a Las Vegas Review-Journal story questioned his spending. But grand jury records show even more extensive spending including ... an $800 dinner at steakhouse ... nearly 200 atm withdrawals mostly at gambling establishments ... and even Disneyland tickets. But his attorney plans to ask a judge to dismiss the charges.
Las Vegas NYE Restrictions and Enhanced Security
If you are planning to celebrate New Year's Eve on the Las Vegas Strip or Fremont Street, be aware that you are not allowed to bring backpacks, coolers, strollers or glass. There will also be an increase in security to ensure safe celebrations across town.
Catholic Charities serves up 53rd annual Christmas dinner
Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada and more than 100 volunteers served 1,000 Christmas meals to Southern Nevada's homeless and less fortunate. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @kmcannonphoto)
Henderson couple adds another school to their generosity
Bob and Sandy Ellis of Henderson, who donate to several Clark County School District schools, have added Matt Kelly Elementary in Las Vegas to their list of schools where every student gets new shoes, socks and a toy. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jeffrey Martin Added To Nevada's Black Book
Martin was one of four men convicted of theft and cheating at gambling in 2016 in Clark County District Court and sentenced to prison. The Nevada Gaming Commission voted unanimously Thursday to include Martin in the black book.
Raiders Stadium Timelapse
Construction on the new Raiders stadium continues in Las Vegas.
Buffalo Wild Wings security video
Security footage from a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in southwest Las Vegas captured a driver who repeatedly crashed into a vehicle in a failed attempt to squeeze into a tight parking spot.
The Magical Forest at Opportunity Village
Opportunity Village's Magical Forest added 1 million lights and a synchronized music show visible from all over the forest this year. The holiday attraction, which began in 1991, has a train, rides, food and entertainment along with the light displays. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like