Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve, and Sparks Mayor Geno Martini announced their collective support for Washoe County Question 1 (WC-1), the ballot measure that would raise the sales tax in Washoe County to invest in construction and repair needs of schools.
Governor Brian Sandoval issued the following statement after a meeting with the Coalition to Save Our Schools, encouraging voters to join him in voting yes on WC-1.
In the last few years we have taken tremendous steps to improve our education system. The new innovations and resources are improving reading and math proficiency, giving more resources to gifted and talented students and getting needed technology into the classroom.
However, in Washoe County, we all know that there is another education crisis - our schools are overcrowded, outdated and worn out. Indeed, most schools are over 40 years old. Without new investment, we cannot expect to provide children with a 21st century education in a classroom built in the 1970s, a portable trailer or even a converted storeroom. Although we have first class teachers, we cannot expect them to teach our students the lessons of today in the classrooms of yesterday. Our children, teachers, parents and community deserve better.
That is why I'm asking you to join me and vote yes on WC-1. WC-1 will not only provide the needed resources to build new schools and modernize others, it will bring out the best in our students and ensure prosperity in the future. Make no mistake, what happens in our schools today will determine the future of our state.
Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve joins Governor Sandoval in encouraging voters to support the initiative, issuing the following statement:
Reno’s future is so bright, and we have so many positive economic developments happening. We must continue to make Reno a destination for companies and families and to do that we need schools that match their needs. WC-1 will dramatically improve our schools and our community, and help to continue the excellent trajectory we’re on.
Sparks Mayor Geno Martini released the following statement:
For more than a decade, I’ve represented the citizens of Sparks. I am committed to ensuring this generation, and future generations to come have the greatest opportunities to learn and grow in a safe and productive environment. Our children deserve nothing less. Passing WC-1 this November is the solution to provide those opportunities.
'The Coalition to Save Our Schools' is also gaining support from local business leaders. The Regional Alliance for Downtown held a meeting Thursday with SOS to address concerns including why there is no sunset provision in the measure and voter distrust of the school board.
"There's going to be a new majority on the school board this November so that means out with the old, in with the new. The past politics and mistakes we can put behind us," said Alex Bybee, Campaign Organizer for SOS.
Those attending the meeting were mostly in favor of WC-1. One group in opposition was unable to attend but spoke with Channel 2 and said that the $35 million annual bond the WCSD was given access to because of SB 207 is not being fully used because there isn't the staff to administer it.
"The bond is Senate Bill 207 was approved in the 2015 legislature and in December of 2015, the Oversight Committee approved the actual bonding and they bonded $20 million and they still have $15 million left over if they want more," said Jeff Church with RenoPublicSafety.org.
But, the school district says it is facing a $781 million shortfall over the next nine years to address projected repair and building needs. Bybee is expecting many more meetings like Thursday's and wants to make sure those in the community have their questions and concerns answered as November approaches.
"We'll come to any community group and do a presentation. We'll come to your living room to do a presentation. We are everywhere and willing to present to any group that wants to hear about WC-1."
For more information or to get involved visit www.soswashoe.com.
The Coalition to Save Our Schools contributed to this report.