School board forms community committee

The Community Advisory Council approved at Tuesday's Carson City School Board meeting will help shape the direction of the district, with a priority on examining the budget process.

"It's a strategic planning committee whose first emphasis is to downsize us," said board president Barbara Howe "That's their first job. That's what we need right now."

Trustee Lynnette Conrad said she wanted potential members to be aware of the task in front of them.

"We need to adjust to declining enrollment and declining funding," she said. "We need to do that with the most amount of transparency and the least amount of disruption."

Associate Superintendent Sue Keema presented an outline of a 13-member group, with representatives from segments of the community including public safety, city government and Western Nevada College. Two members would be school board trustees.

Board members recommended increasing the size of the group to involve more parents at large.

The committee is being formed in the middle of an anticipated budget shortfall of about $7.2 million. Earlier, the school district proposed closing an elementary school and changing the schedule of Fremont Elementary School, the only year-round school.

However, both plans were hotly contested in a series of public meetings, and the district abandoned them.

Board vice president Norm Scoggin pointed out that citizen committees are not new to the school district. They have been formed throughout the years to advise the district, he said.

Keema said the district has been able to achieve success with school bonds, student achievement and financial stability in past years.

"We didn't just do this in isolation," she said. "We did it with community support. It's important that we take our success and move forward with it."

Several teachers and parents submitted letters of intent showing their interest in serving on the committee at the meeting. Trustees Conrad, Joanna Wilson and Steve Reynolds also volunteered to serve.

Also at the school board meeting:

The board voted to refuse any new out-of-county variances to the Carson City School District for the 2009-10 school year.

Those who already have a variance will be allowed to continue to attend in the district.

Estimated cost savings, according to Associate Superintendent Keema, would be $109,000.

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