AB 46 to Raise Taxes, Capital Funding for Schools - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

AB 46 to Raise Taxes, Capital Funding for Schools

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In the State of Education address Tuesday night, Washoe County School District Superintendent Pedro Martinez named a bill in the upcoming legislature as one of his top priorities.

Assembly Bill 46 would raise funds for capital improvements at district schools. Martinez said that's the area where the district is most in need.

"We only get one bill for the session, and we decided it had to be a capital [improvement] bill," Martinez said. "That is the area right now where we feel we're the most vulnerable. We have buildings right now that frankly are falling apart."

Martinez said over half of the school buildings in Washoe County are at least 30 years old, and many of them more than 50 years old. He said it would take more than $500 million to fix all the problems district wide, including repairing broken heating and air systems, replacing torn and damaged flooring, and updating antiquated fixtures.

So the district is sponsoring AB 46. If passed, it would raise sales taxes 1/4 of a percent. It would also raise property taxes by $0.05 for every $100 of a home's assessed value. The district estimates that would cost the average family in Washoe County about $8 extra every month. It would generate $20 million a year for the district.

Parents and administrators say that budget boost is badly needed.

"I go in there and the thermostats are broken," Nevada PTA Vice President Kelley Miner said. "The kids are going to school in shorts in the winter because it's too hot to concentrate."

Martinez also pointed out that the 2002 rollover bond, which was the district's major source of capital funding, expired in November of 2012. If this bill doesn't pass, the district will have no way to repair its schools and buildings.

The legislative session starts on Monday.

Written by Arianna Bennett
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