Yesterday, a small but mighty band of students, parents, and educators traveled to Carson City to engage in some authentic learning featuring civic engagement and persuasion. I am happy to report that their efforts were successful! Senate Bill 100 will be heard today in the Senate Finance Committee meeting which begins at 8:00 am. It is the second item on the agenda.
The bill is the second on the agenda today. You can watch the hearing here. There is a time period when you can call in and voice your support of the bill but an exact time is impossible to predict. I urge you to take the time to call 888 475 4499 and use meeting ID 871 4107 8846# to voice your support. Your statement can be very brief: “The need is there. There is an inability to generate the funds locally. We need support from the legislature. Please pass this bill.” Legislators heard yesterday from our students--and will hear again today during the presentation--some of the challenges so those don’t necessarily need to be rehashed. Just simple, firm expressions of support--and as many as possible.
If you're unable to call in, please email the senators on the committee to voice your support. This would likely need to occur before 9:30 am.
As a reminder, here is the bill. It is very simple--an direct appropriation from the state budget to the WPCSD to replace 1909 and 1913 schools. It is simple because there is really no arguing the need that exists nor the inability for the capital funds to be generated locally. To read a thorough narrative describing the need for relief, please click here.
As a very brief summary, inaccessibility for students with disabilities and inefficient infrastructure (plumbing, heating, AC, etc.), and design inconsistent with modern school safety needs are three significant issues. The presence of asbestos in nearly all floor, wall, and ceiling materials make simple improvements exorbitant and usually cost prohibitive projects. What should only cost a little bit costs a lot because any project requires significant abatement. So patchwork, bandaids, excellent maintenance staff, and patient students and parents keep the doors open.
Regarding the inability to raise local funds, White Pine County as a whole is at the statutory maximum tax cap. The school district receives a portion of locally generated funds to use for capital projects. These are currently obligated to debt on White Pine High School and small (but always growing) capital projects for our existing campuses (roof replacements, parking lot resurfacing, carpet replacement, etc.). It’s really a math problem. There are not enough residents in the county or taxable property to ever generate the revenue needed to build new schools--especially with the continuously escalating costs of construction. Simply put, without relief of some kind from the state, new schools will never be built.
This is only the first step, but one that we’ve been waiting for all session. I hope you can take a few minutes to advocate for our students.