After hearing comments from the community during a public meeting, the Washoe County School District (WCSD) Board of Trustees voted unanimously to support an amendment to Assembly Bill 46. The amendment, which was introduced by a bipartisan delegation of state legislators from northern Nevada, would enable board members to vote on whether to enact a tax increase in Washoe County. The revenue from this increase would pay for repairs and maintenance at more than 100 District buildings including 93 schools.
The bill still needs to pass through both houses of the legislature and the governor. If it does pass, the Board will conduct forums to gather public input on whether to raise taxes.
AB 46 would provide the WCSD Board of Trustees with the authority to vote on and enact specific tax proposals as described in the bill. The taxing authority would not extend beyond that. The bill would not give the school board authority to increase taxes at its discretion for any purpose in the future.
"We were very pleased to hear from community members who came to give us their input," said Barbara Clark, president of the Board of Trustees. "After carefully considering the needs ahead of us, the Board unanimously agreed with the enabling amendment. If this goes through the legislature and the governor signs it, the Board is committed to gathering input from our community and will make a decision about what is best for our students and our schools."
AB 46 would provide for a ¼ percent increase in sales tax and a $0.05 increase in property taxes per $100 of assessed value in Washoe County. The cost of the average family is estimated at $8 per month, and the measure would generate approximately $20 million in revenue annually for capital projects in the District.
Washoe County voters approved a rollover bond measure in 2002, which provided more than $500 million to build new schools, provided technology to classrooms, and revitalized the oldest schools in the District. The rollover bond expired in November 2012, leaving WCSD with no ongoing major source of funding to pay for repairs and maintenance at its schools.
"We are committed to continuing this important conversation with members of our community as we work to protect their investment in our public schools," said Superintendent Pedro Martinez. "We want them to know that we are dedicated to using tax revenue responsibly and that we have kept our promises in the past to our taxpayers. There is a continuing need for revenue to repair and maintain our schools, and that is why Assembly Bill 46 is so crucial."
AB 46 has received widespread support from business and community groups, parents, teachers, and trade unions. Representatives of many of these organizations have testified in support of the bill in Carson City. For a complete list of endorsements and more information about capital funding projects and AB 46, visit: http://washoecountyschools.org/community/legislative-session/capital_funding
From Washoe County School District