During the 1998 election cycle voters decided to issue bonds to build new schools and to schedule elementary school classes in a 5-track annual cycle to avoid the cost of building more additional schools.Using that vote as a rationalization the school board later actually borrowed more money and built or remodeled more schools than voters were actually told about during that 1998 vote.
Intentionally mischaracterized by the Clark County School District (CCSD) as a “year-round school” to make voters think that their kid would attend school all year, actually the 5-track school schedule merely utilizes the school building all year. Students are all out of school for vacation during one of the 5-track breaks. Scheduling the schools on this system does increase that capacity of the district by 20 percent. Each student still gets a long vacation break similar to a summer break like those who attend 9-month schools do.
Empirical data has proven that this 5-track schedule helps some students do better because the “long break” is not quite as long and that leads to better retention of learning over the long break. Many parents love this schedule because they can go on vacation when summer crowding and high summer pricing are not in effect. Many parents who have to work during peak tourist season love being able to take time off with their kids at other times during the year.
Bond money from the 1998 election vote was used to build schools or remodel existing schools to allow elementary schools to hold 720 students on a 9-month cycle or 900 students on a “year-round school” schedule.
CCSD accounting gymnastics have, over the years, attempted to convince onlookers that both 9-month and year-round schedules are cheaper in operating cost. As CCSD has tried to argue this both ways, credibility is a problem. But it is hard to argue that there is no cost savings in not building schools which have cost between $20 million and $90 million each, dependent upon the incompetence of the system and other issues.
When the Clark County economy died and enrollment fell six years ago,
the school board quietly shifted class schedules back to a 9-month schedule and hauled off, gave away and demolished thousands of portable classrooms in order to conceal the fact that they overbuilt two unneeded elementary schools after the exodus of students.
During the last election cycle CCSD was again shot down by voters when
trying to sell more bonds for more schools and school repairs. As evidenced by the vote, voters believed that this was not needed. Although much of the negative vote was attributed by the democratic media to the bad economy, proponents now admit that another big problem that voters had with it was the perception of CCSD inefficiency in managing the money for operations and building.
Now the school board has decided to ignore the 1998 voter decision to run year-round schools by ordering three portable classrooms each week since December, spending $90,000 each on them. Projections are that this will cost close to $7.2 million and that the 80 portables are not durable enough to last.
The school board is in a full press public disinformation campaign to
convince voters that CCSD is 20,000 kids over capacity. It is in fact in the range of between 5 percent and 20 percent under capacity dependent upon if they only make elementary or all K-12 schools all year-round.This week the CCSD campaign extended to CCSD funded PBS.
During this week’s show, Nevada Week in Review’s moderator, Nathan Baca, hosted a one-sided presentation of the school board’s position delivered by Patranya Bhoolsuwan and bolstered by comments from Steve Sebelius.
Although it was not disclosed that Bhoolsuwan was advocating the CCSD position, she authoritatively advocated for the school board position as though it was investigative journalism. Setting aside the issue that that new format of NWR has eliminated the former facade of presenting both sides of an issue, CCSD putting out falsehoods to see what holds credibility when coming from misinformed press sources makes the arguments and assertions interesting.