Wording for Assembly Bill Allowing Separate School Boards Ready Today
GARDNERVILLE – A draft bill to allow the formation of community school boards apart from an established school board – to oversee curriculum – is the last vestige of an attempt to form a new Lake Tahoe County, the bill’s author said.
“To qualify, an area would have to have at least one high school, one middle school and one elementary school,” said Assemblyman Pete Ernaut, R-Reno. Ernaut introduced the proposed legislation. “To people who say this is creating a new layer of bureaucracy, I answer that the new body would only have three elected members, and it would not work at cross purposes with the big school board.”
An earlier version of this same bill has already been introduced in the Senate as SB477. The difference between the two versions is that the Senate version would give community school boards more power to higher, fire and choose faculty and staff. That provision drew immediate opposition from the Nevada State Education Association which represents 18,000 teachers and school employees.
The attempt by a residents’ group at Lake Tahoe to form a separate Lake Tahoe County evolved because of dissatisfaction with the residents being a part of Douglas County, or in the case of Incline Village, Washoe County. The group claimed that they got short shrift in schools and services and that their tax dollars were draining down the hill.
They said they need to determine their own destiny. However, the proposal in recent weeks met with a cold shoulder from legislative lawmakers and died.
Yet another proposal, for a separate Incline Village School District, was also thrown out.
The newest idea still alive, and to be introduced as a bill today, would allow the formation of small, community school boards to oversee curriculum and other policy issues. Ernaut, who represents Incline Village, said the idea would allow isolated and unique geographical areas such as Incline to bring decisions impacting the local school closer to home.
“This would not be a junior school board,” he said. “The new board would not be able to negotiate collective bargaining with employees and could not lend bonds. The larger board would still do that. The new board could instead make decisions on things like curriculum, school hours and facilities.”
Members of the Douglas School Board were unavailable Wednesday to comment on the plan. At a hearing earlier this week, they expressed surprise at not having been briefed in detail on the idea beforehand.
Ernaut stressed that the roles of the community board and the main school board would not conflict because the missions of both would be clearly spelled out.
The proposed legislation could impact school boards statewide.
However, Ernaut said potential problems with enacting it in Clark County might exclude that county. The formation of a three-member board would require a two-thirds “yes” vote of parents in an area and would then need to be ratified by the state. The measure would then go on the ballot for a vote.
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