Washoe County School District Faces Capital Needs Dilemma - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Washoe County School District Faces Capital Needs Dilemma

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"Now we are talking about next steps. So we are having a critical conversation with our board, without bond oversight committee, to talk about, where do we go next?" says Washoe County School District Superintendent Pedro Martinez.

"Tough decisions" was the key phrase at Wednesday's school district meetings.

"Frankly, we don't have enough money."

Here's the situation:

Washoe County estimates about $308 million is needed school repairs over the next 10 years. That includes issues like faulty heating and air systems and broken windows, but it also means security concerns like creating "single points of entry" and putting fences around campuses.

Here's the problem, though - the bond that was in effect to fund these projects ran out in 2012.

Now- there is just about $73 million left in the fund -a drop in the bucket with no income in sight.

"It becomes an issue of what do we prioritize?" says Martinez.

Teachers and administrators presented their cases at the meeting arguing that their schools' needs take precedence with projects ranging from window replacements to security systems.

Mike Cate is one of a handful of committee members tasked with making that call. He has been monitoring the school situation for years and with aging buildings says we can only kick the can down the road for so long. "They're old facilities, and they just need to be brought back up to speed somewhat...It's just problematic with money, you know, as always."

He says they might just have to hold down the fort until another bond can be set up.

That could take years. Until then tough decisions. "It's such a difficult conversation when you're talking about children who are cold during the winter and too hot in the summer...We have huge needs," says Martinez.

The school board plans to keep the issue up for discussion at its next board meeting next Tuesday. It is open to the public and they say they welcome any suggestions.

Written by Arianna Bennett

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