weather icon Mostly Cloudy
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

Options for failed levies considered

RENO — The defeat of proposed sales tax and motor vehicle registration fee increases for school maintenance and construction could mean longer bus rides, Washoe County school officials said.

District planners have estimated $1.3 billion will be needed over the next seven years to meet demands. Without that funding, officials say some students in overcrowded areas might have to be bused to less crowded schools.

A committee appointed by the Legislature recommended the increases as a way to fund a $393 million bond issue.

One portion sought to increase the county’s sales tax rate by a quarter-cent, to 7.625 percent. The other would have added a half-cent tax for every $1 of value in vehicle registration fees to go for schools.

Voters rejected the initiative 55 percent to 45 percent.

“It seemed that, from the day we started our campaign, the economy just got worse and worse,” schools Superintendent Paul Dugan said. “I don’t think a day didn’t go by without someone saying, ‘You couldn’t have picked a worse time to get this thing passed.’ “

The district estimates that it will have no more than $350 million over the next four years for school needs, which will come from revenue of a bond rollover.

If voters don’t reapprove the renewal of the bond rollover within the next four years, that source will dry up, too.

Hardest hit might be future high school students destined for schools north of the Truckee River, such as Reed, Hug, Spanish Springs, North Valleys, McQueen and Sparks.

“The groups that are going to feel the pain the quickest are the groups in the north, especially Spanish Springs and the North Valleys,” Dugan said. “And then you know our older schools are going to feel it, like they already have. Only it will continue to get worse.”

District planners foresee a 1,500-student overload for high schools north of the river. Without funding for a new high school, those students could be forced to ride a bus to schools in south Reno.

Trustee Dan Carne said projections show there will be room for those students in the south and central Reno high schools. But that could mean 90-minute bus rides.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
After 3-month pause, Hawaii’s Kilauea begins erupting

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said in a statement that a glow was detected in webcam images from Kilauea’s summit early in the morning

CNN chief executive Chris Licht out after tumultuous run

A lengthy profile in Atlantic magazine that came out on Friday, titled “Inside the Meltdown at CNN,” proved embarrassing and likely sealed his fate.