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5 Takeaways From Clark County Schools Associate Superintendent Joyce Haldeman About The Failed School Ballot Initiative

On Election Day, voters resoundingly rejected a tax increase that would have funded capital improvements for Clark County Schools. The district had sought to raise taxes 21 cents per $100 in assessed valuation for up to six years. The initiative was rejected 65.6 to 34.4 percent. Schools are already in need of repairs – this school year, some facilities have been plagued by flooding and electrical failures.

Joyce Haldeman, CCSD associate superintendent, shared thoughts about how the failure to pass the proposal will affect the district:

CCSD May Have To Close Schools

Shutting down older schools is on the table. “The choices are simple, (trustees) are either going to have to take money from the operating side of the budget, which means another cut in some program, or an increase to class size or something to free up that money,” says Haldeman, “Or they’ll have to close down that facility. Those are the two choices that we’ll be looking at.”

Classes Are Already Being Interrupted

Haldeman says some facilities are so run down that they can’t even withstand heavy rains. “We’ve had two very unusual rain storms and the schools flooded,” says Haldeman. “We are at the point that the deterioration of some of our facilities is impacting instructional time for our students.”

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Clark County Voters Must Think The School Has A Secret Stash

The associate superintendent believes one of the reasons the initiative failed was because voters don’t understand the state’s tax structure. “I think a lot of people think that we can pay for these things out of the district’s operating budget, and that isn’t the case. In the state of Nevada, it’s the county’s responsibility to provide dollars for construction and major renovation.”

One Of The Reasons For The Levy Was So Later They Could Tell Voters “We Told You So”

“If we don’t ask, we will be subject to criticism when things do fail,” says Haldeman. “So we felt that we had to ask the question.”

And Now They’re Just Sitting Back, Waiting For Things To Go Wrong

CCSD was proactive in putting the tax proposal on the ballot, but now that it didn’t pass, they’re in crisis mode. “We will have to be reactive in the future,” says Haldeman. “We would have gone to schools where we know the systems were about to fail. Now because there is no money we’re going to have to sit back, and kind of with our white knuckle fingers, hope that nothing fails. Then on a case by case basis the trusties are going to have to take a look and say ‘What do we do now?’”