Budget Approved As School District Scrambles

By  | 

The jubilation didn't last long at the Washoe County School District after the state's budget stalemate was resolved.

Gov. Kenny Guinn signed the $836 million tax package on Tuesday. Soon afterward, district officials began scrambling to hire teachers and buy supplies for the new school year that begins next month.

"There was a huge collective sigh of relief, but the euphoria lasted about 10 minutes,"said Steve Mulvenon, district spokesman.

"After the excitement of the news wore off, the reality of all the work that has to be done between now and Aug. 25 really set in."

School officials across Nevada are now preparing for the upcoming traditional school year.

Carson City Superintendent Mary Piercyznski said letters went out Tuesday to a dozen teachers who had been offered jobs contingent on the state school funding. In addition, 17 teaching positions need to be filled.

Mulvenon said the legislative delay put the Washoe County district about two to three months behind schedule.

"There are two critical steps,"he said."One is filling the 250 or so vacant teaching positions that we currently have. We're two to three months behind the normal time line.

"The other chore now is to process the hundreds of purchase orders on hold for supplies and materials. I think there is going to be some midnight oil burning around here."

He said school trustees are to meet July 31 to go over a $308 million budget that reflects $6 million in cuts. Districts have 30 days after the Legislature adjourns to submit amended budgets.

"The public needs to understand that while the figure of $700 million to $800 million is being tossed around, there's always the misconception that the schools have all the money they need,"Mulvenon said.