School board to vote on hiring lobbyist |

School board to vote on hiring lobbyist

Cory Fisher

Should the Douglas County School District help the county pay for a lobbyist to fight the proposed Lake Tahoe County?

The school district’s Board of Trustees will meet today to discuss and possibly act on this and other legislative issues.

Douglas County Commissioners authorized up to $50,000 of general fund contingency money Thursday to pay a yet-to-be-identified lobbyist for the rest of the 1997 legislative session.

Shortly after, Superintendent Pendery Clark said the school district was asked by commissioners to consider contributing an unspecified amount toward lobbying efforts.

“(Today) the board will discuss whether they want to contribute, and they may vote,” said Clark, who would not speculate on the outcome. “We’ve always had a positive working relationship with the county commissioners, but the district does belong to a number of organizations who are now lobbying on our behalf.”

Clark cited the Nevada School Boards Association and the Rural Alliance – comprised of 15 rural Nevada schools – as examples.

“We also have a pretty active board,” continued Clark. “They do some of their own lobbying. Some board members do meet with legislators and occasionally testify.”

In fact, board president Cheri Johnson is now the legislative representative for the Nevada School Boards Association and board member Don Forrester is president-elect.

The Tahoe Citizens Committee, which proposes creating a new county out of Nevada’s Lake Tahoe Basin areas, has commissioned lobbyist Harvey Whittemore to advance its cause.

“We’ve gotten more calls on this than anything else,” said TCC spokesman Michael Jabara. “We recommend the school board not endorse this action. Public money should not be spent to fight a group of citizens who are using their democratic prerogative. Whatever money there is should go to students.”

Jabara said the board has agreed to discuss a TCC request to the district to provide an impact analysis of a new county or school district.

Trustees will also discuss other current legislation at today’s meeting, as well as the board’s official position on education-related bills.

The meeting will be at 3 p.m. in the Administrative Services Building, 751 Mono Avenue in Minden.

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