SENATE DEMOCRATS RENEW PUSH FOR SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION, CALL FOR BIPARTISAN LEGISLATIVE ACTION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 12, 2015

SENATE DEMOCRATS RENEW PUSH FOR SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION, CALL FOR BIPARTISAN LEGISLATIVE ACTION

LAS VEGAS– At the Las Vegas NewsFeed today, Senate Democratic Leader Aaron D. Ford called on legislative leaders to commit to making funding for school construction the first priority for the upcoming session.  Specifically, Senate Democrats are pushing for a bipartisan bill expanding rollover bond authority for local school districts to be the first piece of legislation sent to the governor’s desk.  

“On the heels of last week’s Southern Nevada Forum and this morning’s Las Vegas NewsFeed breakfast, it is clear that there is bipartisan support for Senator Debbie Smith’s proposed school construction legislation,” said Senate Democratic Leader Aaron Ford. “We invite our Republican colleagues and Governor Sandoval to join us in pledging to make school construction the first thing we accomplish this session.”

In the special legislative session last year, Senate Democrats proposed adding the rollover of bonding authority to the proclamation. Had this been passed, it was projected that school construction would have begun within 6 months. 

Sen. Joyce Woodhouse, a member of the Senate Education Committee and 40 year educator, made the following statement:

“When we invest in safe, modern school facilities, we’re investing in the long-term success of Nevada students. Nevada’s children can’t reach their full potential in overcrowded schools that lack basic amenities, like air conditioning and heat. Leaders of both parties must come together and commit to immediately passing this school construction bill.”

BACKGROUND:

  • Senate Democratic bills would allow for school construction without raising taxes on Nevada families by authorizing school districts to issue bonds that have already been approved by voters to finance construction. Construction in some districts could begin as early as June 2015. 

  • Senator Debbie Smith submitted school construction Bill Draft Requests 139 and 140 in June of 2014 to get school construction passed in the 2015 legislative session. If Senator Smith’s bills pass at the beginning of the 2015 legislative session, it is projected that school construction could begin in Clark County by June 2015.

  • Nevada school districts have faced years of overcrowding. In Clark County, there are enough students to fill an estimated 24 new elementary schools right now.

  • Clark County has seen its student population rise by 10,000 children without a single new school being built. Some schools in Nevada lack basic amenities, such as heat and air conditioning, or basic technology services.

  • Schools across the state currently rely on portable trailers for extra classroom space. By some estimates, there are well over 400 trailers still in use today that have exceeded their 20 year life-expectancy. Some are over 50 years old.

  • Washoe County Schools are currently using over 200 portable classrooms. Over one third of WCSD buildings are more than 30 years old, and ten percent are more than 50 years old. 

Here are a few ways you can help make a difference.