School board votes to keep bond tax neutral | NevadaAppeal.com

School board votes to keep bond tax neutral

by Teri Vance

The Carson City School Board agreed by a 5 to 1 margin to develop a bond issue for around $18 million that will not raise taxes.

“What the Carson City School District needs is a win,” said Board President Jean Kvam. “Are we willing to risk going for the tax-affecting bond?”

The board held a special meeting to determine the desired amount to seek for this year’s bond.

Superintendent Jim Parry urged the board to adopt a tax-neutral bond to cover what he called, “the bare-bone necessities.”

“We are going to recommend to you tonight in no uncertain terms that you look at the basics,” he said. “If you decide to go for a bond issue, it should not raise taxes.”

The “bare bones” bond would include projects such as installing heat and air conditioning in all schools, insulating and repaving.

Some hoped for more.

“Your job is not to reduce taxes. Your job is to take care of my kids,” said parent Sharon Field. “I don’t want new pavement. I want my children educated.”

Field said her daughter wanted to enroll in a physics class but was turned away because there is not enough lab space at the high school.

Stacie Wilke, board member, also wanted the board to seek more money to fund bigger projects. She said the board failed to convince the public of the needs of the district and she opposed the vote to keep the bond tax neutral.

“All we needed was a little P.R. campaign since January and all that we’re asking for would have been a slam dunk,” she said.

Marty Johnson, the bond consultant for the district, said a $14 million bond would actually lower taxes; $18 million would be neutral and above $18 million would raise taxes.

Thirty-five percent of Carson residents said they would support a revenue-neutral bond according to a survey conducted by Donald Carlson of Survey Research Systems.

“I think it would be advantageous to the school district to be sympathetic to the property-tax payers of Carson City,” Carlson said.

Board Member John McKenna considered the idea of passing a bond that would lower the tax rate. However, Board Member Norm Scoggin said it would not be effective.

“The city’s just going to pick up the difference anyway,” Scoggin said. “It’s not going to benefit the taxpayer.”

Safety and math and science labs both received 26 percent of the vote as the number-one item that the school board should address.

The tentative plan included two new science labs at the high school.

Sixteen percent said computer information technology is the most important.

Director of Operations Mike Mitchell will be conducting interviews with the principals at each site to determine the exact projects that need to be done at each school.

The final project list is scheduled to be completed by May 1.

Board members are hopeful the community will support the bond issue. According to the survey, 34 percent ranked the district’s job performance as good and six percent said it was excellent.

“You ought to pat yourselves on the back,” Carlson told district members.