WCSD Superintendent celebrates past year and looks forward

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -- It was the fourth State of Education address for Washoe County School District Superintendent Traci Davis Wednesday night, and she said she had many things to be happy about.

"When you think about where we started with a $40 million structural deficit and now we are down to $19 million, I think we are doing remarkable things," said Davis.

The annual event brought many students, parents and school administration together to showcase the what she says is the success of the district. One of those was the graduation rate; the district achieved 84 percent and Davis says her goal is to reach 90 percent by 2020.

She also thanked those in attendance for the passage of Washoe County Question 1. The district has spent $20 million to renovate and start construction of new schools.

But one thing that was on the minds of many was that budget deficit. Next school year the district must find a way to cut $19 million from its budget.

"We have to continue to work and advocate for funding through the Legislature," said Davis.

Davis says she has identified a way to cut the deficit down to $5 million by not filling vacancies and pulling back on teachers on special assignment, but the plan requires board-approval.

"The board will have a difficult decision of drawing the line and it's not easy," said Davis.

Those in attendance says they are open to cuts, but hope it doesn't impact the students.

"Definitely the STEM education as well as the support service outside of the classroom to ensure students are able to continue their education throughout," said Araceli Martinez.

The Board of Trustees has requested that the deficit be reduced by 1/3 each year. The hope is that the budget is balanced within three years.