Voters Deny School District Funds to Fix Schools

LAS VEGAS -- The Clark County School District suffered a major loss at the polls Tuesday night when voters defeated a property tax increase to repair schools.

If the ballot question had passed, the school district estimated it would have raised $720 million to rebuild and fix older schools.

Rex Bell Elementary School Principal Jaymes Aimetti said a new campus would have been a dream for him and his students, but it was very expensive and in the end, voters just didn't want to pay for it.

"The roof was leaking and, of course, it soaked all over here," he said.

MAP: School Repair Projects

Rex Bell was one of two schools that would have been completely rebuilt if Clark County voters had passed the ballot question.

"With the economy the way it is, it was a very difficult ask and we knew it from the beginning," school district deputy superintendent Pat Skorkowski said.

If it had been approved, the capital improvement plan would have cost a person with a $100,000 home about $72 more per year in property taxes.

The money would have gone to build new campuses, fix old air conditioners and heaters, and bring in new computers, something a young student's mother said would have been worth the investment.

"Certain kids shouldn't be limited to certain things because of the area where they live in," said Elizabeth Quezada, mother of a 4-year-old.

The conservative think tank Nevada Policy Research Institute opposed the tax initiative from the beginning, saying it's education reform and not more spending that will increase student's achievement.

"We tried spending lots of money in education," the institute's spokesman, Victor Joecks, said. "It hasn't worked. It's time to change how we spend the money."

Superintendent Dwight Jones said money is still necessary for academic equality and the district has failed to make that case clear to voters.

"I respect the will of the voters," Jones said. "The voters have spoken. I've got to do my job better because the needs are there and I have to make sure the community understands the need."

An option the school district is considering to ease overcrowding in classrooms is to return to year-round schools.


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