School Funding Question To Appear On November Ballot

Jan 8, 2016

Credit Alexa Ard

Washoe County voters can expect to see a school funding question on the ballot this year to help build new schools and repair crumbling ones. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey reports.

The Public Schools and Overcrowding Repair Needs Committee unanimously approved crafting a ballot measure to hike taxes in November.

Shaun Carey is chairman of the committee, which was formed by the legislature last year to tackle Washoe's grossly underfunded facilities.  

"I believe that the evidence is, and the need is, rather overwhelming," Carey says. "If we don't act, we will be affecting generations of young people and really getting to the core of the fabric of our community."

He says the committee is looking at raising between $600 and $800 million dollars.

Most schools in the district are at--or close to--capacity, and officials warn that without more funding, they may have to split schools into two sessions or switch them to year-round.

"The community is facing some very dire outcomes," Carey notes, "if school funding is not approved by the voters."

Carey says the funding would come through either an increase in sales tax or property tax, or perhaps both. Their committee has until April to finalize the exact language. 

Washoe County voters have not approved new school funding since 2002.