95°F
weather icon Clear

County wants joint meeting on potential funding to CCSD

Clark County commissioners on Tuesday signaled that they were unwilling to commit any dollars from a potential quarter-cent sales tax hike to the school district without first meeting with trustees on a plan for accountability.

A quarter-cent sales tax increase authorized by Assembly Bill 309 would generate $108 million yearly if commissioners vote to impose it, the county has said. While lawmakers restricted where funding may be directed, many of the eligible programs are connected to education.

With millions of dollars at stake for the district, commissioners are seeking assurances that school officials have a plan and accountability measures for spending taxpayer money and will collaborate with the county.

“If they don’t want to do it, then that’s kind of where we end up,” Commission Chairwoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick said. “But it’s on them to prove to us that student achievement is their top priority.”

Commissioners directed staff members to set up a joint public meeting between the two entities, which they hope will bring public attention, and input, to the potential sales tax increase and answer questions from county officials.

“I’m pleased that these conversations are happening to benefit our students,” Superintendent Jesus Jara said in a statement. “A meeting … is a great next step. I want to ensure that concerns are addressed so that we all move forward with students at the forefront.”

Under AB309, the commission needs a two-thirds vote to impose the tax, or a simple majority of voters in a ballot question. The county has discretion about whether to impose the tax, and may also also reduce the rate. Elected officials hold a “considerable amount of leeway” in determining start dates, sunset clauses and reporting requirements, according to county legal counsel Mary-Anne Miller.

But officials are also confined to directing funds toward several specific uses. Among them: early childhood and adult education; reducing truancy; and recruitment and retention of teachers. Dollars can be sent to the school district, a city in the county or be retained by the county itself.

The question Tuesday, raised by Commissioner Larry Brown, is whether to focus on county-specific needs such as truancy, homelessness and affordable housing.

By providing money to the school district, “I’m not convinced that wouldn’t be throwing money away,” Brown said. “I think there’d have to be almost a culture change from the district in partnering with Clark County.”

Even so, county officials on Tuesday reaffirmed their commitment to education, and acknowledged how lawmakers had suggested at least half of the proposed tax revenues be spent in that area.

“This is going to be one of the more significant things that this board does,” Commissioner Michael Naft said. “It’s going to impact every single resident of this county, likely, and I just think we owe it to them to make sure that we are doing this in the most transparent and accessible and approachable way as possible.”

Marijuana tax hike

Commissioner Tick Segerblom said bumping the sales tax to 3 percent for marijuana growing, production and retail activities will produce about $2 million annually that can be directed to homelessness programs.

The commission directed staffers to prepare paperwork for the potential increase, which will bring the tax to the maximum allowed under state law. Currently, the tax rate is on a sliding scale, according to Segerblom.

A business impact statement will come back to elected officials in a future meeting, allowing the public to address the proposal before any official action is taken.

Lobbying rule change

The commission also approved a rule prohibiting “those who have violated the trust of their public positions” from lobbying county officials. The item was introduced by Commissioner Justin Jones, after former Las Vegas Councilman Ricki Barlow registered as a city lobbyist after serving a short federal sentence related to the misuse of campaign funds.

Contact Shea Johnson at sjohnson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Amelia Pak-Harvey contributed to this report.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Media's Double Standard On Incitement And Trump - Video
Over the weekend, an Elizabeth Warren-supporting socialist who opposed gun violence used a rifle to commit a mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. The media has downplayed that aspect of the tragedy.
Project Our Care Tour Kicks Off In Las Vegas
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus joined health care advocates and local residents as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour kick off in Las Vegas on Monday, August 5, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders talks about guns, response to El Paso shooting
Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke about his response and continued policy ideas about guns and gun control to the Review-Journal after a panel of other topics. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg On Gun Control And Climate Change - Video
Pete Buttigieg talks about his campaign for the 2020 election and how Nevada is a vision of what the future can be.
Beto O'Rourke speaks in Las Vegas
Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke to supporters at the East Las Vegas Community Center in Las Vegas, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Nevada Senate leader Kelvin Atkinson sentenced to prison
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, who pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds, was sentenced to 27 months in prison on Thursday, July 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trumps Strength is also a Weakness - Video
One of Donald Trump’s greatest strengths — his ability to shape national narratives — is also a great weakness.
Tax the Rich Bus Tour makes a stop in Las Vegas - Video
The Tax the Rich Bus has stopped in Las Vegas as part of its summer tour. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ - Video
Assembly Woman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ to bring the community together to hear about the candidates up for election and for people to gather and have fun.
Democrat Virtual Caucus - Video
Elizabeth Warren visits Las Vegas
Senator Elizabeth Warren made a campaign stop at the East Las Vegas Community Center on Tuesday July 2, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Aaron Ford Speaks About Bill AB431
AB431 is a bill sponsored by Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson to restore the right to vote for formerly incarcerated individuals. Attorney General Aaron Ford spoke at the AM&E Church in North Las Vegas about the bill, on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Right Take: Biden's Racially Questionable Comments
Joe Biden has uttered racially charged statements for years. Now that he’s the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination, he may finally face prolonged scrutiny for them.
Christopher Rufo Discusses Homelessness In The USA - VIDEO
Christopher Rufo discusses homelessness in the United States and how politicians can work to improve conditions for those with drug addictions.
Clark County 2019 Election Results - Video
The 2019 Elections wrap up in Clark County including an upset in the Boulder City Mayor race.
Olivia Diaz talks about her win in Ward 3 - VIDEO
Las Vegas City Councilwoman-elect Olivia Diaz talks about her election win in Ward 3 and what lies ahead for her.
Greene discusses Read by 3 and Opportunity Scholarships - VIDEO
The Nevada Legislative Session is over and the results are mixed for Nevada students, according to Tom Greene, Senior regional legislative director, Excel in Ed in Action.
Bernie Sanders visits Las Vegas
Sen. Bernie Sanders made a stop at Roy W. Martin middle school on Thursday, during his campaign trail.
THE LATEST