It’s been a month now since schools lost the election. By a nearly two-to-one margin, Clark County voters answered “No” on Ballot Question No. 2, which would have raised property taxes in order to fund capital improvements in the school district. We recently asked Paul Gerner, the Clark County School District’s associate superintendent of facilities, what the district’s next move might be.
Do you have a contingency plan for making the necessary facilities upgrades?
At some point we will be faced with a choice of taking money from the general fund to pay for facility needs. That means money from education programs will go to keeping buildings functional. We will do everything we can to avoid and minimize the impact. Overcrowded schools in the southwest will hurt a lot.
What’s the greatest need you face that’s not going to be able to wait for the next ballot measure?
Our greatest concerns are ensuring basic needs—heating, cooling and emergency systems. We will be taking a close look at remaining funds versus our highest-risk items and trying to craft the best strategy executable on remaining funds.
If you had a taxpayer who voted “No” in front of you now, what would you say to him or her?
The district has a real need to ensure all students have the opportunity to learn in the best facility possible. We asked for only about one-fifth of identified needs, and set hard limits on time and caps on spending and rates. It was just not a good time to ask. It was our responsibility to take the question to voters, and I respect their decision.