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Board: Schools will suffer without funds

School board members say the Clark County School District will suffer if legislators take away funds used to make small capital improvements throughout the district.

The district’s government services tax revenue — which is worth about $25 million annually — is collected when consumers register their vehicles. However, assembly leaders in special session are discussing whether that money can be used elsewhere to cope with statewide budget cuts.

"We have very old buildings, some 50-90 years old, that need upkeep," said Carolyn Edwards, vice president of the board. "The risk here, as you take that money away, is you let schools fall into serious disrepair. You face closing a school because of the condition it’s in. I’m not saying that’s about to happen, but we have old schools that need to be repaired."

Money collected locally should be spent for local projects, Edwards added.

"Obviously, we’d like them to look elsewhere," she said. "This is money that has been raised by Clark County taxes and the state is looking to take it for the state budget. Taxes raised locally are going to be taken to benefit the entire state. It’s not like they’re taking it and saying they want us to offset our education budget problems."

School board president Terri Janison said from what she understands "it’s not a done deal."

"Those discussions are still being had," Janison said. "It would have an effect on us, especially since we don’t have a new bond in the works. The money in that account has been identified for rehab projects."

The district’s bond rating also could be jeopardized.

"We built that bond up, and if the bond rating drops then our interest rate goes up," Edwards said. "Then we’d get less on the dollar because we’re spending more on the interest rate. There’s lots of complications here in terms of what it means to take this pot of money. It’s not like it’s just sitting there collecting dust."

Contact Kristi Jourdan at kjourdan@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0279.

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