Supervisors, school board promise future collaboration
During what members of Carson City’s two largest governing boards called a historic meeting, the Carson City Board of Supervisors and the Carson City School Board set a precedent Tuesday for future cooperation.
Mayor Bob Crowell said that although the joint meeting was held under difficult economic times, Carson City was “better off than other jurisdictions” in terms of the quality of life, “but we’re not out of the woods yet.”
Both Crowell and School Superintendent Richard Stokes presented detailed overviews on their jurisdictions, citing successes and challenges.
Crowell pointed to the number of positions the city has had to eliminate as well the 10 percent needed to be trimmed from the operating budget to achieve a balanced budget.
He shared his concerns that robust employment might never see the same levels it once enjoyed, and said he also was worried about the “outflow of young professionals” as well as the 25 percent commercial vacancy rate in town.
Crowell said the city is proud of the regional water project, the V&T railroad, work at the airport, open space acquisitions, the freeway landscape designs and the proposed Nugget project.
He praised the school district for its decision to go from a 47-cent bonding rate on $100 of assessed valuation to a 43-cent rate – a move that will allow the city to gain an extra $500,000 for saving public safety positions.
Stokes said he was proud of the school board’s work, pointing out that through bonding, they were able to accomplish $47 million in construction projects in six years.
Of concern was the drop in student enrollment, even though in 2010, the district had lost only 95 students compared to the 230 lost in 2009.
Stokes praised a number of joint use ventures between the district and the city: playing fields, gyms, auditorium, aquatic center, emergency systems, immunization clinics and safe routes to school.
School board member Stacie Wilke mentioned that the district cooperates with the Sheriff’s Department through the use of a deputy on school grounds.
“We have an exceptional working relationship, we feel, with the city,” Stokes said.
Supervisor Molly Walt suggested future joint ventures could include a performing arts center, mentoring possibilities and bringing more cultural opportunities to the schools.
School board member Steve Reynolds said he hoped some opportunities could be afforded to a specific segment of students.
“The age groups that get hit the hardest are the graduates who aren’t going on to college,” he said.
Jointly finding volunteer opportunities could help them, he said.
“That’s an important sector to watch,” Reynolds said.
School Board President Norm Scoggin concluded that the joint meeting was very productive and that by working together in “a thoughtful progressive way, we’re going to get through this.”
The boards agreed that they would like to include Western Nevada College in any future joint meetings.