LAS VEGAS -- Clark County parents are getting fliers from the school district about Question 2 on the November ballot. If approved by voters, it would result in a property tax increase to repair old schools.
Opponents of the tax claim the district is unethically using taxpayer money to send out the fliers. CCSD says it is only informing parents.
The district sent out around 250,000 brochures at taxpayer expense. It's illegal for a government agency to advocate for a specific ballot measure. While the brochure does not appear to violate the letter of the law, critics believe the district is violating the spirit of campaign law.
Ballot Question 2 is the property tax increase that could generate a maximum of $720 million for the district to repair older schools over the next six years.
The brochure includes headlines such as "Fixing our Schools," "Incurs No Debt" and "Needs are Crucial."
Tax opponents claim it's unfair for CCSD to have used taxpayer money for the brochure.
"They've taken part of the information, the part that would make parents and taxpayers more likely to vote yes on Question 2 and presented that. They haven't presented the other side," said Victor Joecks, Nevada Policy Research Institute.
NPRI failed to get the tax measure struck down in court.
Associate Superintendent Joyce Haldeman says because the brochure does not actually say, "vote yes on Question 2," it's perfectly legal.
"People have a right to be able to be aware and informed about the conditions that are at the schools and make a decision about whether they think taxpayers should pay for it. For an organization that is all about transparency and people being aware of government, they're doing everything they can to prevent voters from making an accurate decision on this," Haldeman said.
District officials declined to say how much it cost to mail the brochure. They say the bill isn't ready yet but some costs will come from the district's general fund. There are also questions from NPRI about some district employees being used to handle campaign materials.
"There was empty space, and yes, we did transfer signs from one location to another using a vehicle that was already on its way over here, and it had space available in it," Haldeman said.
"Nevada's ethics law is very clear. Government cannot spend one dollar, one dime to support or oppose a ballot question," Joecks said.
If Question 2 passes, a person with a home worth $100,000 will pay an estimated $6 extra a month in taxes.
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