(Ken Small) – Viewers of local television or the liberal press would think that Ballot Question 2: “Shall the Clark County School District be authorized to levy an additional property tax…?” is seemingly without opposition. Clark County School District (CCSD) would have you believe that only Scrooge-hearted cheapskates would deny our children repair of buildings with leaky roofs. Perhaps even the most fiscally conservative voter would relent if they understood just how frugally our money was spent? The following are some examples of what concerned citizens see as the history of money spent on capital improvements.
In 1998 voters were told by CCSD PR that they were voting for a $2.5 billion bond sale to construct enough schools to house 370,000 students. Today after expending over $6 billion enough schools to house over 370,000 students were built. Enrollment is now 307,000. We are, in other words, now “House poor”. Like so many others during the boom the school district hocked everything that it could to buy more schools than we needed. A huge portion of that $6 billion went to repairing every school in the district too.
During 2005, flush with cash, the school board bought a lavish office building with marble floors, gold doors, gold fixtures and private bathrooms for the top bureaucrats running the district. Public outcry included a 11/05/2006 expose’ in the Review Journal where 5100 West Sahara was described as “Posh”. The article noted the issue that a $290,000 commission was paid to a company employing a member of the CCSD Bond Oversight Committee for her involvement. After buying the building for $14.5 million the school board remodeled it costing $1.5 million.
And then there was money just given away. During late 2010 John Schutt wrote in a Las Vegas Tribune article “I hope that Sandoval decided to hire RINO School Board President Terri Janison to get her out of there so she could do no more harm. I’d like to believe that this is the case. When Janison took a step back and gave away $25 million of the school districts construction bond money to the state’s general fund last year I heard that it was a political deal that she would be repaid for. Many insiders at the district think that this was it. Would you buy a job for $25 million? Maybe if it was somebody else’s money…. Sandoval will soon learn where the nick name “Pea Brain” came from.” Janison was hired to work in Sandoval’s southern Nevada office. Would that $25 million have gone a long way to fix schools?
Land acquisition has been a problem too. After the boom, the school board discovered that it had no reasonable explanation for why it owned most of the unused property that it had on hand, including a property purchased near Nellis AFB for elementary school construction. That property was known to be located too close to the base take off area to be used for a school when they bought it.
Despite private claims from school board members and facilities staff that the misguided and illegal activities of the past were ended when the two top level facilities staff departed in 2005-6, NPRI has now caught CCSD using public funds to advocate for a yes vote on question 2. This is a violation of NRS 281A.520.
Does previous careful spending of the tax payer’s dollars indicate that we can trust the Clark County School Board with more of our money? If you don’t mind a overspending by double, lavish extravagance, illegal activities and giving the money away then Vote Yes on Ballot question 2.