New finance director stresses collaboration
With declining enrollment and budget cuts looming on the horizon, Tony Turley knows his new job as finance director for the Carson City School District is going to be a challenge.
“It’s easy to look at numbers,” he said. “But they equate to families, they equate to food on the table. These are difficult decisions, and they are not made easily.”
But Turley, the former senior accountant for the city of Sparks, said he’s ready to meet that challenge.
“It’s an ideal time to get involved because it’s when it’s most needed,” he said. “I was very enthusiastic about coming to the school district. I felt I could be a part of this leadership team.”
Turley took over the position Monday, just days before Gov. Jim Gibbons called for cuts up to 10 percent for school districts.
While working for Sparks, he said, budget cuts there were met with employee furloughs and salary reductions.
He said he has no immediate plans to deal with proposed cuts to the school district, and that he won’t be making those decisions alone.
He said district administrators, school staff, members of the Master Plan Committee and the public will all have a say.
“I’m not a typical accountant,” he said. “My strength is being able to communicate the numbers and bring people together through the process.
“It’s a full-group effort when we look at the budget.”
Part of that skill, he said, comes from being a father to a blended family of eight daughters, five of whom are at home.
“Being a father of eight girls has prepared me because I’ve had to communicate with them and work through the emotions,” he said. “We have a lot of challenges in our home, but we have a happy home.”
Turley still lives in Sparks, but said he and his family plan to move to Indian Hills at the end of the month. He said they chose the area because of its semi-rural atmosphere, like where he was raised in Snowflake, Ariz.
His wife, Dena, home schools the girls who range in age from 8 to 15.
He said they will consider the school district’s new online education program as an option.
“We don’t know much about it, but we’re very intrigued by the possibilities,” he said. “I think it could supplement very well what we’re doing at home.”
Turley, 48, replaces Bob Anderson, who left the district in September. Turley will be introduced to the school board during Tuesday’s meeting.
“We’re very happy with him,” said Superintendent Richard Stokes. “He brings good experience and has a genuine interest in making an impact on our schools here in Carson City.”
Outside of work, Turley enjoys fly fishing, camping and sports, especially basketball.
Recently earning his master’s degree in public administration, he said he recognizes the value of education.
“It is the foundation of our society,” he said. “Without a strong educational foundation, all of our infrastructure – business, politics – crumbles.”