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KUNR Today: Debbie Smith CTE Academy project delayed, WCSD using federal relief on summer program

A still from a video shows a rendering for the outside of the Debbie Smith CTE Academy. A black, metal sign shows the name of the school hanging above people walking through a courtyard with tables and chairs.
Courtesy of the Washoe County School District
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A rendering for the Debbie Smith Career and Technical Education Academy shows plans for the new Reno campus expected in 2025.

Read or listen to news headlines for Thursday, June 23, 2022.

Washoe County’s new career and technical high school delayed until Fall 2025
By Jose Davila IV

The Washoe County School District Board of Trustees voted this week to implement a phased construction plan for the new Debbie Smith Career and Technical Education Academy. The new school will be located at Hug High School’s former campus. Hug students and teachers are moving to a brand-new campus in Sparks.

The board voted to approve the schedule change proposed by the Capital Funding Protection Committee. The committee advocated for the change as a way to adjust for rising labor and material costs that have already put the project at more than $35 million over budget.

Jose Davila IV is a corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project.

WCSD using $77M in American Rescue Plan funds for summer school program
By Jose Davila IV

The Washoe County School District is getting $77 million through federal COVID-19 relief funds to run a four-week summer school program.

The initiative targets students from kindergarten through seventh grade that need additional academic support to reach grade-level standards. It will run from Tuesdays to Thursdays from June 21 through July 14. Twenty-two elementary schools and 13 middle schools in the district are participating in the program.

Congress hears investigation testimony on Native American boarding schools
By Emma Gibson, Mountain West News Bureau

Throughout most of the 1800s and 1900s, the federal government forced Indigenous children into boarding schools to assimilate them into white culture. On Wednesday, June 22, some Interior Department officials testified to Congress about an ongoing investigation into the over 400 federal schools.

The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition said by 1926, nearly 83% of Indigenous school-aged children were attending such schools.

“I often wonder what it would be like to come from a place with no children — this is what was imposed on our people,” said La Quen Náay Liz Medicine Crow, First Alaskans Institute president, during the congressional hearing. “Could you imagine having your own children taken?”

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland reviewed some of the department’s first report on the federal boarding schools. She also spoke in high support of a bill proposing a commission for further investigation.

Rosen-backed heat bill passes out of Senate committee
By Gustavo Sagrero

Federal legislation called the Preventing Health Emergencies and Temperature-related (HEAT) Illness and Deaths Act has advanced out of its legislative committee this week. U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen was one of the co-sponsors of the bill.

“Reno and Las Vegas are two of the fastest warming cities in the country, and we have seen significant public health effects related to the increase in temperature,” Rosen said.

The bill includes a three-pronged approach to addressing the rising temperatures throughout the country. It will establish an interagency committee, direct federal scientists to conduct research, and create a multi-million dollar assistance program. That funding will support community projects addressing the impacts of extreme heat events with a focus on underserved communities.

Earlier this month, a joint interim committee hearing in Nevada also addressed this issue. Along with public comment, there were updates on local legislation and presentations from experts. Watch the full meeting here.

Nevada Supreme Court ruling shakes up groundwater rights
By The Associated Press

A Nevada Supreme Court ruling has set new precedent for how the state can manage groundwater in areas with severe drought. The 4-3 ruling was issued Thursday to settle a water dispute in a rural Eureka County farm area. The court said groundwater management plans established in some areas that are losing water quickly can deviate from the longstanding senior water rights doctrine.

Groundwater is governed by what is called a “priority doctrine.” It traditionally grants senior land owners first rights to groundwater over junior land owners. The court ruled as the West weathers a more than 20-year megadrought. Scientists say climate change will continue to make water supplies less reliable.

Man gets prison for Vegas police SUV fire amid 2020 protests
By The Associated Press

The first of three men who admitted setting fire to a Las Vegas police vehicle during a May 2020 racial injustice protest has been sentenced to two years in federal prison. Devarian Haynes apologized Wednesday before he was also sentenced to three years of post-release supervision, community service and restitution for his March guilty plea to a reduced charge of civil disorder.

Co-defendants Tyree Walker and Ricardo Densmore are due for sentencing in coming weeks after also taking plea deals that avoided trial on conspiracy and arson charges. Each is expected to receive a sentence similar. The police vehicle fire came amid protests following George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis police.

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