In 1996, the two fought rounds over the school bond issue.
Now, Bob Crowell and Karl Neathammer have joined forces in support of a proposed $18 million maintenance bond in this year's election.
"Bob and I can safely say we have become friends," Neathammer said. "We were on opposite sides of the last school bond, but I completely support this one."
Neathammer, a former lay judge, and Crowell, an attorney and member of the school board, butted heads in a 1996 debate hosted by the Republican Women at the Carson City Community Center.
"We debated each other as professionals and we went at each other tooth and tong," Neathammer said.
However, it was that same debate that inspired the friendship between them.
The next day, Neathammer called Crowell, and Crowell suggested the two meet for lunch. They have been meeting regularly ever since.
"I believe that vigorous, strong debate strengthens us rather than weakens us," Neathammer said.
Crowell agreed, "We both believe that direct dialogue is the fundamental basis of our society."
Neathammer said he opposed the $48 million bond issue four years ago because it lacked organization.
"It was ill-conceived," he said. "It was not properly presented to the voters. Too many questions were left unanswered."
He said this year's is different.
"It's fact specific," he said. "They've laid out everything that we need to do to keep our kids safe in school. They're doing everything right this time."
The $18 million bond would help to make general repairs throughout the school district to increase safety and comfort. Those schools which are not air conditioned would have it installed.
Crowell said the bond addresses the bare minimum needs of the district and hopes the community recognizes the need.
He said he goes to work every morning in his air-conditioned office where he does his best to create a comfortable work environment.
"I want the same for the kids in this district," he said. "I want them to feel comfortable in their environment and I want them to be safe."
The bond is not expected to raise taxes. However, if it is not approved, taxes would go down. The cost of the bond is about $39 for the owner of a $100,000 home.
Neathammer said he would support this bond even if it did raise the property tax rate.
"They have done their homework and have laid out their requests and have backed up their requests," he said.
He said he wants voters to be aware that the bond issue and the teacher's union initiative are not linked.
"I'm 100 percent against the teacher's initiative," he said. "I'm asking the people of Carson City to do their homework so they do not get the two confused."
Crowell also opposes the $250 million business tax proposed by the Nevada State Education Association.
He said he thinks the chances of passing this year's bond are good, but if it doesn't, the district will survive.
"Education is not going to stop if it doesn't pass," he said. "Can we live without it? Yes. Should we? No."