Washoe County voters have approved hiking the local sales tax half a penny to raise $780 million for school improvements in the Reno-Sparks area over the next 10 years.
Backers called the new bonding authority badly needed to help alleviate school overcrowding and a $1.1 billion backlog in capital needs.
Washoe County voters rejected every previous school bond measure put to them over the past 12 years.
This time around, the Coalition to Save Our Schools mounted a $1 million advertising campaign in support of the tax increase, and a district judge shot down a late legal challenge intended to keep the measure off the ballot.
It permanently raises the local sales tax from 7.725% to 8.265% - the highest rate in the state. (AP)
From Washoe County School District:
Washoe County School District (WCSD) Board President Dr. Angie Taylor, Superintendent Traci Davis, and Chief Operating Officer Pete Etchart thank the community for supporting the District’s 64,000 students following the passage of WC-1, which will provide additional funding for construction and repairs to Washoe County schools.
“This is a day of great celebration for the children of the Washoe County School District,” said President Taylor. “I am thankful to the voters of Washoe County and the numerous community groups who advocated for passage of this legislation. They recognized our critical need to build new schools and to repair and maintain aging schools in our District. I am profoundly grateful for their support of our students of today, and all the generations of students to come who will use these buildings well into the future. This is indeed a great day for all of our students, teachers, and the entire community.”
“I join with our students and their families in applauding the voters’ commitment to education, as evidenced by their passage of this important legislation,” Superintendent Davis said. “I deeply appreciate their support of our students and staff, and their commitment to playing an important role in educating the children of Washoe County. This is a great day for our District, and for each and every one of our students. With this funding, we will be better able to support our students during their academic journeys.”
In passing WC-1, voters elected to raise sales tax by a half-percent, with the new revenue going strictly to construct, repair, and renovate schools facilities in Washoe County.
“I am thrilled that the community has provided this funding, which will allow us to give all of our students an adequate learning environment for now, and for our future,” said Etchart. “Our critical overcrowding and repair needs did not happen overnight, and the challenge now will be to work as quickly and efficiently as possible to make use of these funds and give all of our students the best learning environment possible. Our next step is to take our first set of proposed projects to our community oversight group, the Capital Funding Protection Committee, to get the community’s approval of our specific plans and projects that we will start right away. We will involve the whole community every step of the way. A list of our specific District priorities for new schools and repairs has been presented to the community many times over the past year, and is available on our overcrowding website, which we will continue to update as we move forward.”
“For a long time, our District has been ‘academically rich and infrastructure poor,’” Superintendent Davis said. “Thanks to this decision by Washoe County voters, our community’s commitment to academic progress will now be supported by funding to build and maintain our schools. On behalf of all of our students, I am grateful.”
From the Washoe County School District