Lawmakers' Cost Could Be Used Elsewhere

By: Jenny Rabin
By: Jenny Rabin

After the Nevada U.S. District Court issued its opinion, Governor Guinn issued a statement thanking the court for acting so quickly.

The Governor said every day the legislature continues in special
session is another day that causes irreparable harm to our school districts.

Now we will look at how much the special session is costing tax payers and what the school districts could be doing with that money.

We are in day 46 of this extended special session - although the legislative office says technically legislators have only been on the clock for 22 of those days.

It seems no one can agree on exactly how much money has been spent on this special session so we took some averages and figured out what the Washoe county school district could buy with that money

The 63 members of the Nevada State Legislature are supposed to be in
session for 120 days but this year, they are at 166 and counting.

The state legislative office says the special session costs an average
of $35,000-a-day. With the special session now in its 46th day, the grand total comes to just over $1.6 million.

The 42 Assembly members and 21 Senators receive $130-a-day in
salary for the special session and a per diem of $85-a-day, for a grand total of $215-per-legislator, per day.

The Washoe County School District, with 86 schools, 60,000 kids and
6,000 employees says they could put that money to very good use.

The $1.6 million could pay 30 teachers salaries for an entire year, or in Washoe County, it could buy books for one subjects for all students in grades kindergarten through six.

It could also fund the entire English as a Second Language program for both middle and high school students. Something else it could do is to fund their entire 22-person business office for a whole year.

In terms of supplies, the Washoe County School District pays $1.14 for
a pair of scissors . . . so the $1.6 million would buy 1.4 million pairs of
scissors.

A box of 100 Band-Aids is $1.44 a box and with the special session money, the district could buy 1.1 million boxes.

Lastly, one box of 16 crayons costs Washoe county 26-cents and that 1.6 million could buy 6.1 million boxes of crayons.

The lack of a state budget is beginning to affect the start of the
2003-2004 school year in many areas.

Nye County had decided to push back its start date by two weeks and other districts say they may have to follow Nye's lead.

We'll know more in the days ahead.


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