Back to (cramped) schools

That was one of the messages of the failed 1996 bond issue. Another was that school district administrators should stretch their dollars and facilities as far as possible to accommodate students while holding the line on taxes.

Today, Carson High School opens another year with a record freshman class - 600 students - and facilities strained about as far as they will go.

In fact, while most people think that Carson City has only one high school, it has four. And it may add a fifth.

In addition to the big building on Saliman Road that everyone recognizes as Carson High, there are the Opportunity High School, Pioneer High School, and a new charter school operated by Rite of Passage.

By next year, according to Superintendent Jim Parry, there may also be a high school within Western Nevada Community College. "Spreading the children out a little bit is about all we can do," he said.

With the addition of the Randolph Tech Center on the high-school campus, the district has been able to make do. Most schools in Carson City have "temporary" classrooms parked on their grounds. And while there is no big enrollment boom on the horizon, the truth is that Carson City's facilities already are bursting at the seams.

District administrators have done a tremendous job of working out the logistics of fitting 8,500 children into this city's schools. They didn't have much choice; taxpayers told them to live with what they've got.

With creative solutions, with alternative high schools to give students more options, with temporary buildings and shifting teaching assignments, Carson City School District again this week will bear down to do what we ask: Give our children an above-average education.

In November, the district will ask taxpayers to step up with their part: Approve $18 million in improvements to the schools.

They're not talking, in most cases, about additional space or amenities. They're asking for some basic maintenance to the buildings that our children are using now.

As voters, it's time to do our part and approve the school bond proposal.


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