Douglas Trustees Turn Up Heat Opposing Tahoe Split
MINDEN – Members of the Douglas County School Board turned up the volume of their opposition to a proposal from a Lake Tahoe citizens group that would create a new county, thus splitting the school district.
“I can’t see anything good for the lake or the valley,” said Trustee Don Forrester. “The people in Lake Tahoe don’t realize how hard it is to run a school district. We’re doing a good job.”
The Tahoe Citizens Committee wants to form a separate county at the lake, charging that lake schools and other services have been shortchanged compared to those in Carson Valley. In addition, TCC proponents claim the need to control their own future.
At a meeting of the Douglas School Board on Thursday, trustees said an earlier position statement on the proposed split had been misinterpreted to have the board supporting the split. The confusion resulted after board members said they could support the split only if it could be demonstrated that the division would be beneficial to the district academically and financially.
The misunderstanding led the board to make a stronger statement this time – in opposition.
“None of the numbers from the TCC on the impacts seem to be accurate,” said Trustee Mary Bennington. “In fact, we haven’t seen any firm numbers. The split will cut in half the bond capacity of the district.”
Rick Kester, director of operations for the district, said he couldn’t see any advantage in creating a new school district, and thus a new layer of administration.
“I can’t see how it would be good for anybody financially,” Kester said. “There are 17 school districts in Nevada and 17 superintendents. Some states have 2,000. I can’t see how creating more districts is good for anybody. If the new school district doesn’t take money from the other 17 districts, the state is going to have to cough it up.”
The board formed a new response to the split proposal, saying it could not support the proposal. Based on current information, the board said the split would adversely impact students. Board members added that they can’t support the division unless it can be proven advantageous and not detrimental academically and financially.
“After looking at all the scenarios, I don’t see any way,” Forrester said.
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