School board members to meet with legislators | NevadaAppeal.com

School board members to meet with legislators

by Sheila Gardner and Maggie O'Neill

School board members from four counties are set to meet with their state legislators Monday in Carson City to preview funding issues for the upcoming legislative session.

“It’s an opportunity for the school boards to ask these legislators questions or express their concerns,” said Carson City School District Superintendent Mary Pierczynski.

School board trustees from Carson City and Douglas, Storey and Lyon counties will address legislators with their top concerns. For Pierczynski, that includes asking for continued support of two-year held harmless funding.

“In the last session, in ’03, there was a movement to move that back to one year,” she said. “There were senators who supported the two-year funding and that was important to us.”

Two-year held harmless funding allows per-student funding to be paid at the highest enrollment rates during those years. The funding helps, Pierczynski said, because a drop in a few students across grade levels doesn’t necessarily mean that suddenly less teachers are needed.

Often, the same level of funding and the same amount of teachers are needed.

Assemblywoman Bonnie Parnell, D-Carson City, Assemblyman Lynn Hettrick, R-Gardnerville, Assemblyman Tom Grady, R-Yerington and sens. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, Mike McGinness, R-Fallon, and Maurice Washington, R-Sparks, are expected to attend the meeting, which is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m., in the Carson High School library at 1111 N. Saliman Road. The meeting is open to the public.

A similar meeting with legislators occurred prior to the 2003 legislative session, but only Carson City School Board trustees attended.

“We just thought it would be a good idea to get all the players together,” said Carson City School Board member Norm Scoggin, also vice president of the Nevada Association of School Boards.

Scoggin cited the federal No Child Left Behind program and increased health benefits for retired employees as programs that school districts had to fund with inadequate resources.

“Last year, we had to pay added retirement benefits for 30 teachers, this year there will be more than 200 teachers,” he said. “These are budget killers.”

He encouraged teachers, parents and other taxpayers to attend Monday night’s meeting.

“I think it’s very appropriate for anyone to attend to find out just where our legislators are and what they are interested in doing. Anybody who is interested in education and taxes ought to attend,” Scoggin said.

For Parnell, a former Carson City teacher and recently re-elected Democratic assemblywoman, the issues are long-range.

“I think this (legislative) session needs to be a time where everyone really takes the time to consider thoughtful, long-range strategy,” she said.

IF YOU GO

What: Special school board meeting for Carson City, Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties

When: 6-8 p.m. Monday

Where: Carson High School Library, 1111 N. Saliman Road

Call: 283-2000