School board hires consultant for bond

The Carson City School District took the first step in proposing a bond for the November 2000 elections.

The school board accepted the recommendation at Tuesday's meeting to hire the Martin Johnson consulting firm as the bond consultant for the district.

"We believe Marty Johnson has the most experience in Nevada," said Superintendent Jim Parry.

He said the firm, based in Las Vegas, has handled bond issues with 16 of the 17 Nevada school districts.

"A bond consultant does a variety of things," said Parry. "They're there to help the process in the beginning, the middle and the end."

Parry said that once the district conducts a needs assessment, the consultant will advise the district of the funding options available.

Once an option is chosen, the consultant will help the district understand how it will affect the taxpayers.

"The higher you raise the tax rate, the lesser chance you'll have of passing the bond," Parry said.

The consultant will then phrase the ballot question to the voters. If the bond is passed, the consultant will then engineer the sale of the bond.

Mike Mitchell, director of operations for the district, said the bond is necessary to fund projects that are too costly for the budget.

He said he compares the district to a home owner who wants to make some major renovations, like a new roof. The home owner would probably not be able to pay for the new roof but would take out a second mortgage.

"That's all we're asking," Mitchell said. "We're just asking for more money to do these projects."

Mitchell is working will supervisors from each school to formulate a detailed list of all necessary changes.

The potential projects have been broken down into three categories.

The first is money needed to ensure safe schools with items such as fences and secure locks.

The second is to protect long-term investments such as black top, heaters and roofs.

Mitchell said that Fritsch Elementary was constructed in 1954 and still uses the original furnaces.

"It's time we replaced those," he said.

The third is educational renovation such as science labs, libraries and auditoriums.

"These are important things that the district cannot afford," Parry said.

Once the list is compiled, a dollar amount will be determined.

Parry said he does not expect the school board to make the decision for or against the bond until May.

The consultant's salary is contingent upon the passing of the bond Parry said.

Voters rejected a proposed $48 million bond in the 1996 elections.


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