Here are some choice quotes from the RGJ article mentioned in the preceding post. The campaign guru mentioned in the last paragraphs helped to do in the margins tax push, hired by some of the very same people she is now working for to get this sales tax through. There is no change of heart here; the hearts are still cold and all business. The kids count for little and, I will bet, they will inevitably get even less than they get now when there is no money to pay for the educators who will be needed to teach all of the kids who need to be taught. Schools will be told that they will have to do with what is available and what will be available will not be nearly enough.
Watch out Washoe County, you are about to be screwed again. Might be a good idea to bone up on the history of this place and what has traditionally happened to the community when growth comes.
RGJ Quotes from “School Funding Battle Heats Up,” Reno Gazette-Journal, August 7, 2016.
“The funding is one indicator (of support), but every business group, community group and elected official is on the same page,” said Mike Kazmierski, president and CEO of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada. “The community gets it. We need this tax increase.”
The campaign is further focusing its resources on voters in neighborhoods with overcrowded and dilapidated schools, like McQueen, Washoe’s most overcrowded high school. The school was built for 1,300 students but had nearly 1,800 students last year, relying on 14 portable classrooms.
“I don’t even know what our community would do without this (tax increase),” she says [teacher working on campaign]
Her conviction is shared by The Chamber, representing 2,000 Reno and Sparks businesses, and EDAWN, leading the charge.
“Historically, The Chamber is not for increasing taxes. We’re a business organization,” said Executive Director Len Stevens. “But everything points to the fact this needs to get done. This has to happen.”
The Chamber created the Save Our Schools political action committee and oversees all fundraising into the PAC.
Stevens lists the frightening facts that district officials have been hammering home for the last two years.
About 20 percent of Washoe schools are significantly over capacity.
One-third of Washoe County schools have gone more than three decades since their construction or a major renovation.
[These conditions have existed for how many years?]
“You have to respect the idea that education relates to quality of life in any community,” Stevens said.
Businesses are worried about something else, as well. Their bottom lines, [Fred] Lokken [TMCC Professor} said.
From casinos to The Chamber, campaign contributors are throwing their weight behind the tax increase for a shared reason. They’re depending on Washoe’s growth, Lokken said.
“And they don’t want schools to keep that growth from happening,” even if it means a record high sales tax and “burying the hatchet” with the district, [Fred] Lokken [TMCC] said
The Save Our Schools campaign hired accomplished campaign fundraiser Nikki Bailey-Lundahl to drum up the dollars. She did the same thing in 2014 for the statewide margins tax initiative. If voter approved, the measure would have instituted a two percent margin tax on Nevada businesses making more than $1 million a year. Revenue from the tax would have been allocated to public schools.
But Bailey stood on the other side in that campaign, raising $5.7 million to defeat the margins tax, which is what happened. She’s now fundraising for a tax increase benefiting public schools.