Governor Brian Sandoval has signed into law a Republican-sponsored Senate bill that would extend school construction bonds and suspend prevailing wage requirements for school projects.
Assemblymembers passed Senate Bill 207 on Wednesday after the Senate previously the bill.
The bill gives school boards the authority to continue issuing construction bonds for 10 years beyond the time period approved by voters, although districts would not be allowed to raise property-tax rates to pay debt service on the bonds.
Unions and Democrats opposed the wage rule provisions, while some Republicans dislike the bond portion of the bill and call it a tax increase. The prevailing wage portion was originally included in Senate Bill 119, which also contained the school bond rollover, but then was removed to create a separate bill, SB 207.
Democratic Senate Leader Aaron D. Ford released the following statement after the vote:
“We're happy that the Legislature has finally passed a clean school construction measure. As we've stated multiple times, we can put schools first without putting middle class families last. SB 207 is a good bill that doesn't unnecessarily pit students against their parents by cutting the salaries of Nevada's construction workers. After five weeks of Republican dysfunction, we're pleased to see their leadership finally move a piece of education legislation that benefits our kids.”
Senator Debbie Smith, Assistant Democratic Leader, made the following statement:
“I introduced and fought for a school construction bill in the first place because our students deserve to learn in safe buildings, not outdated portable trailers. I am happy to see a clean school construction bill passed out of the Legislature today. I am hopeful that Republican leadership will now turn their full attention to our schools and not on attacking the middle class.”
Democrats in the Senate and the Assembly unanimously supported SB 207. Eighteen Republicans voted against the measure.
(The Associated Press also contributed to this report.)
From the Washoe County School District:
Today, Washoe County School District (WCSD) Board President John Mayer and Interim Superintendent Traci Davis released this statement following Gov. Sandoval's signing of Senate Bill 207:
“We are thrilled to hear of the passage today of Senate Bill 207, which will provide much-needed funding for school construction and repair for WCSD,” said Mayer. “While this bill will not cover the entirety of our funding needs, it is a major step forward for the District and, most importantly, for our children.
“We appreciate the support for this measure by the bill's primary sponsors, Senators Becky Harris, Michael Roberson, and Washoe County's own Ben Kieckhefer, and the support of Washoe County delegation members Sen. Greg Brower, Sen. Debbie Smith, and Assembly members Teresa Benitez-Thompson, Pat Hickey, Amber Joiner, Randy Kirner, and Mike Sprinkle. We would also like to thank Gov. Sandoval for his early support for extension of the rollover bonds, and his signing of this bill. We look forward to working with the governor and the legislature over the remaining months of the session to address the additional school construction and repair funding needs of the District.”
“This is wonderful news for our students, staff members, school district, and our entire community,” said WCSD Interim Superintendent Traci Davis. “Classroom conditions make a real difference in how well students can focus and learn. This funding will help us provide an optimal learning environment for students across the district. We greatly appreciate the governor and legislature making this a priority, and passing a bill to help us solve our funding issues so early in the session.”
From the Washoe County School District