Committee Mulls School Ballot Question Most Palatable To Voters

Feb 5, 2016

The Public Schools Overcrowding and Repair Needs Committee held a public meeting Feb. 4 as it considers which tax increase to put to voters next fall. The school district is looking to raise $781 million over the next decade to help repair old schools and build new ones.
Credit Julia Ritchey

The Washoe County committee charged with crafting a ballot question to raise $781 million for school infrastructure will make its final recommendation next Friday. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey has more.

The Public Schools Overcrowding and Repair Needs committee is considering two options to put to voters this fall.

The first would raise sales tax from 7.7 percent to about 8.3 percent, which would make it the highest in the state.

The second option would raise sales tax a little less, along with a boost in property taxes.

About 50 people showed up to a public meeting last week to give input, including Matt Smith, whose daughter attends the severely overcrowded Mt. Rose Elementary. He says he's more in favor of option two. 

"I'm advocating for the combination because there's a large body of research that shows that our lowest income neighbors and residents pay a disproportionate amount of their income that sales tax is applied to."

John Flangas, a retired attorney, says it's not the tax increase that worries him but the school district's accountability.

"I have no opposition to either of the two taxes. I would welcome both of them provided that the money is administered by someone other than the dysfunctional school board or administration," he says.

Several members of the committee said they were leaning toward the sales-tax only option, believing it to be the more palatable route. 

For more committee info, visit their website