Washoe County School District Looking for Input

Thursday night’s town hall meeting at North Valleys High School was the first of a series of meetings designed to get public input on next year’s budget. The Washoe County School District is facing a $40 million dollar shortfall and Superintendent Heath Morrison has proposed a series of cuts that will be discussed over the coming weeks.

“We have a $40 million shortfall after cutting $90 million out of our budget in the last three years,” Morrison said. “We’re a better school district when we go out into the community and ask for their input and suggestions.”

The current proposal would increase some class sizes, put off buying new textbooks and forgo the expansion of full-day kindergarten. There would also be significant savings in heath insurance and energy and more reductions at the central office. Morrison says the district has tried to keep cuts out of the classroom, but at this point students are starting to notice.

“We have our student advisory board that meets with the school board and they’ve talked about the condition of textbooks, they talk about not having enough technology,” Morrison said. “They will notice, especially at the high school level, some of the increase in class sizes. It’s painful for us to recommend because we want to reduce those class sizes and have good teachers in the classroom that can differentiate and it’s much easier to differentiate in classes of 26 or 27 than 33 or 34.”

Bigger classes would mean less of a demand for teachers. As it stands now, more than 150 teaching jobs could disappear.

“I make recommendations to the board and the board has to make their vote,” Morrison said. “They have the final say on that and right now the recommendation with the budget would be a loss of 154 teaching positions.”

Community members attending the meeting say decisions that affect the district’s budget affect more than just schools.

“I’m very interested in the fact we have budget issues to cover and still try to keep the highest standard of education up,” First Choice Realty 500 Managing Broker Ken Amundson said. “As a realtor it’s really important for home values and the things we need to do for the community to be competitive and make sure Reno stays healthy and grows.”

There are five more town hall meetings scheduled through the end of April. The board will make final decisions by the end of May and the final budget must be submitted to the state by June 8.

More information and meeting times can be found Thursday night’s town hall meeting at North Valleys High School was the first of a series of meetings designed to get public input on next year’s budged. The Washoe County School District is facing a $40 million dollar shortfall and Superintendent Heath Morrison has proposed a series of cuts that will be discussed over the coming weeks.

“We have a $40 million shortfall after cutting $90 million out of our budget in the last three years,” Morrison said. “We’re a better school district when we go out into the community and ask for their input and suggestions.”

The current proposal would increase some class sizes, put off buying new textbooks and forgo the expansion of full-day kindergarten. There would also be significant savings in heath insurance and energy and more reductions at the central office. Morrison says the district has tried to keep cuts out of the classroom, but at this point students are starting to notice.

“We have our student advisory board that meets with the school board and they’ve talked about the condition of textbooks, they talk about not having enough technology,” Morrison said. “They will notice, especially at the high school level, some of the increase in class sizes. It’s painful for us to recommend because we want to reduce those class sizes and have good teachers in the classroom that can differentiate and it’s much easier to differentiate in classes of 26 or 27 than 33 or 34.”

Bigger classes would mean less of a demand for teachers. As it stands now, more than 150 teaching jobs could disappear.

“I make recommendations to the board and the board has to make their vote,” Morrison said. “They have the final say on that and right now the recommendation with the budget would be a loss of 154 teaching positions.”

Community members attending the meeting say decisions that affect the district’s budget affect more than just schools.

“I’m very interested in the fact we have budget issues to cover and still try to keep the highest standard of education up,” First Choice Realty 500 Managing Broker Ken Amundson said. “As a realtor it’s really important for home values and the things we need to do for the community to be competitive and make sure Reno stays healthy and grows.”

There are five more town hall meetings scheduled through the end of April. The board will make final decisions by the end of May and the final budget must be submitted to the state by June 8.

More information and meeting times can be found at http://www.washoe.k12.nv.us/


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