© 2024 KUNR
Illustration of rolling hills with occasional trees and a radio tower.
Serving Northern Nevada and the Eastern Sierra
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
iPhone users: Having trouble listening live on KUNR.org? Click here to download our app to listen to your favorite shows.
Most schools across Washoe County are hitting or exceeding capacity despite serious efforts like re-purposing space (check out the ad-hoc computer lab on the left), adding lunch periods, and co-teaching so that class sizes can be bigger. Pretty soon, there will be even more kids to serve as Tesla and other companies flock to Northern Nevada .On top of that, state lawmakers just approved more than a billion dollars in tax hikes, mostly for education. But get this--none of that money will cover capital needs. For all of these reasons, KUNR has been reaching out to teachers, parents, administrators, lawmakers, and community members for a series of in-depth stories on the overcrowding crisis in Washoe County schools.

Washoe Voters Pass Sales Tax Increase To Fund Schools

Anh Gray

For the last dozen years, Washoe County voters rejected all education ballot measures. That streak came to an end yesterday when WC-1, the initiative to hike the sales tax to fund school infrastructure projects, passed.

The initiative will raise the sales tax about half-a-percent, making the county’s new sales tax rate of 8.265 percent the highest in Nevada. The county anticipates raising $781 million in bonds over the next decade. The money will be used by the Washoe County School District to repair old schools and to build new ones. Right now, the district faces overcrowding and about one out of five schools are overcapacity.

The Reno Gazette-Journal education reporter Trevon Milliard says given the past history of voters at the ballot box, the dramatic about-face in this year’s election was unexpected.

“You expected a shift to be small, but you see 56 percent of voters approving this. That was the sign all night,” Milliard explains. “There was never an indication it wasn’t going to pass from the time we got the first results.”

The Political Action Committees the Coalition to Save Our Schools and the Educators for Washoe Schools raised about $1.4 million to fund the SOS Washoe campaign urging people to vote ‘yes’ on the ballot measure. Paid canvassers and volunteers knocked on doors and blanketed the community with yards signs and fliers. The money raised in this campaign and the community support for an education funding ballot measure is unprecedented in Washoe County.  

Anh Gray is a former contributing editor at KUNR Public Radio.
Related Content