Carson City School Board to consider advisory committee

The community could have a more prominent voice in the school district's decision-making process if the school board agrees Tuesday to create an advisory committee.

Carson City School Board president Barbara Howe proposed creating a Community Advisory Council after a much heated battle over budget cuts this year.

"I don't want next spring to be like this spring," she said. "This would be a way to take the energy and the emotionality of this spring to actually get us somewhere."

With an anticipated budget shortfall of about $7.2 million, the school district originally proposed closing an elementary school. Declining enrollment, officials said, warranted the plan, which would have saved about $3.5 million.

However, plans changed after a series of meetings were held in which the proposal was hotly contested.

A shift was made to "Plan B," which consisted of a list of smaller budget items like staff layoffs and increasing school walk zones. Also included on that list was switching Fremont Elementary School, the district's only year-round scool to a traditional calendar.

That issue was also heavily debated, to the point the police were called at the March 17 meeting.

Last week, Carson City School District Superintendent Richard Stokes announced that the school's schedule would not change. Although Howe said she was dismayed at the tone of the exchanges at the meeting, she was heartened by the interest.

"I liked that we had packed houses," she said. "I want to keep that level of energy. The committee would be a way to formalize their engagement."

Associate Superintendent Sue Keema will present the idea to the board, and if adopted, they will set a meeting to discuss the details.

She said she supported the idea.

"Community involvement is key," she said. "We're a public agency, and we're transparent. We're supported by taxpayer money. Our clients are the children and parents of this community."

WHAT: Carson City School Board meeting

WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday

WHERE: Sierra Room, Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.

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