WCSD seeks community input before finalizing budget

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - When it comes to the Washoe County School District budget, teachers say for years their hard work hasn’t been respected.

“I think we are the easy cut. I think we have taken a lot of hits and we’ve done our job,” says WCSD teacher Dawn Miller.

Miller, an elementary teacher, says if anything is going to change, the entire community needs to speak up.

“It’s easy to sit home and listen and then go, you know, why did they do that? Because they may have not thought about it. We need out-of-the-box thinkers. We need people to show up and talk. That’s why we are here.”

The community discussion was full of other school district employees.
Board President Katy Simon Holland says they wanted the community to come to the forums to learn what budget challenges Washoe County is facing and what programs could see changes or even be cut, including library services, custodial services, gifted and talented programs, and more.

“We’ve gotten some great ideas from people. We’ve had suggestions that perhaps we can integrate students more into some of the service delivery,” says Simon Holland. “For example, we can have students helping in our PR functions, we can have students helping in the libraries, students helping on grounds-keeping and make it part of a professional development curriculum, great idea.”

She says no program cuts have been decided on yet, but the board needs to finalize a budget during the month of May.

“So we have some time, but of course the legislature will still be in session. And we get more than 80 percent of our budget from the state,” says Simon Holland. “So, we’ll have to adopt a budget before we know what the education funding will be.”

According to the school district, Nevada has the largest average class sizes in the country and second lowest funding to schools. Simon Holland is hoping the new state leaders will make education a priority during the next legislative session.

“Fingers crossed that this will be the session when education funding really gets a boost,” says Simon Holland.

The next Washoe County School District Board of Trustees community forums will be
◦February 4, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Smithridge Elementary School. Open to parents, staff, students, and community members
◦February 11, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at District Board Room. Open to parents, staff, students, and community