Education

Washoe County School District

Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt says the board of trustees for Washoe County Schools did break the state's open meeting law last March. 

At that meeting, board members approved a motion to hire Traci Davis as superintendent for the district. The problem is that they didn't inform the public that they would be taking that vote. 

Within mere hours, the board rescinded Davis's appointment. They ultimately hired Davis at their next meeting in April after including appropriate notification in that meeting's agenda. 

Judge Halts Nevada's School Choice Program

Jan 11, 2016
Alexa Ard

A judge has ordered a halt to Nevada's Education Savings Account program, just weeks before the state was to begin issuing money to families.

Carson City District Court Judge James Wilson granted a preliminary injunction on Monday that orders the state treasurer to stop implementing the accounts pending further court review. 

The Republican-backed program allows parents to claim more than $5,000 in state funds each year and use it for qualified education expenses, including religious-based private schools. 

Alexa Ard

A new law went into effect this month that now requires every school district in Nevada to provide performance-based bonuses to some of its teachers and administrators. Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick reports.

Steve Canavero is interim superintendent of public instruction, and he says the main goal of this new law is to find and reward the right people.

State Officials Spat Over Third ESA Lawsuit

Jan 11, 2016
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Lt. Governor Mark Hutchison is firing back after other state officials have chastised him for filing a private lawsuit against the state’s Education Savings Account program. Our Contributor Bob Conrad of ThisisReno reports.

The ESA law was passed last year but is being contested in two lawsuits challenging its constitutionality. The program would allow families to receive state money to attend schools of their choice, including religious-based schools.

Alexa Ard

  

After years of being near the bottom of the barrel, Nevada has finally ranked dead-last nationally for its education system, based on an annual report released this week. Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick reports.

The Quality Counts report now ranks Nevada at the very bottom, citing limited education funding, low amounts of college-educated parents and high rates of non-English speaking students.

School Funding Question To Appear On November Ballot

Jan 8, 2016
Alexa Ard

Washoe County voters can expect to see a school funding question on the ballot this year to help build new schools and repair crumbling ones. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey reports.

The Public Schools and Overcrowding Repair Needs Committee unanimously approved crafting a ballot measure to hike taxes in November.

Shaun Carey is chairman of the committee, which was formed by the legislature last year to tackle Washoe's grossly underfunded facilities.  

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A new online tool is offering healthcare data that's broken down for each Nevada county. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Billman reports the database provides snapshots on how different counties compare on everything from their healthcare workforce to how many of their residents have health insurance.

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This week, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas is starting a three-year, $600,000 research project to interview human trafficking victims ages 18 to 24.

Alexis Kennedy is a criminal justice professor at UNLV and will be conducting the interview. She says when victims are identified, they need an extensive web of services even after they age out of the system, including counseling, housing, and mentors.

"You can't live in the traumatic circumstance of being a trafficking victim and then, the second you turn 18, you're a healthy, functioning adult," says Kennedy. "

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Nearly 29 percent of medical residents are depressed compared to 16 percent of the general population. That startling finding was recently released in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Alexa Ard

The University of Nevada, Reno is getting a new fine arts building. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports.

With approval from the Board of Regents for the Nevada System of Higher Education earlier this month, UNR can now move forward with planning and construction. The school has already raised more than $19 million dollars from private donors to cover the $20 million price tag, but enough about money.

Waterline Break Floods Pine Middle School

Dec 28, 2015
Julia Ritchey

After a waterline break at Pine Middle School flooded nearly the entire first floor, Washoe County school officials are scrambling to come up with a contingency plan. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey reports.

Maintenance crews discovered that a 4-inch valve disconnected above the cafeteria on Saturday, inundating the school with water while students were out on holiday break.

Chief facilities management officer Christopher Cobb listed the damages.

Washoe County School District

The Washoe County School Board recently approved a controversial contract for first-time Superintendent Traci Davis, which has drawn a lot of negative attention. And now the local Republican Party is looking for contenders to unseat school board members who voted to approve it. Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick reached out to both sides in order to sort this issue out.

It’s True: Books Do Make You Smarter

Dec 15, 2015
Alexa Ard

A recent study, conducted in part by University of Nevada, Reno researchers, gives us proof of what we’ve already long assumed: owning books actually makes us smarter. Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick reports. 

For this study, researchers analyzed standardized test scores of children in 42 different nations and learned that kids who have books at home do better on tests, regardless of their country’s development, political history or ideology.

Business and construction are booming in Reno, and that means even more students for the already-overcrowded Washoe County School District. In the latest installment in our Bursting At The Seams series, we break down the complex relationship between economic development and local schools.

    

Each new home built in Washoe County generates a certain amount of capital improvement funds for the school district. But spokesman Riley Sutton says when you do the math, the numbers don't add up.

Julia Ritchey

 Washoe County voters haven't approved new school funding since 2002, and that bond expired three years ago. Without enough money to build new schools or fix old ones, the district will be at the mercy of voters yet again next November. As we continue our Bursting at the Seams series, Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey examines this imminent funding crisis.

At the end of the last legislative session, Governor Brian Sandoval passed a $1 billion tax package, the biggest tax hike in state history, to fund sweeping education reforms — but with one noticeably absent component.

Alexa Ard

Much of the debate around overcrowding in Washoe County schools has centered on the idea of shifting to a year-round schedule, also known as multi-track. But for high schools and most middle schools, even that solution won't work. Reno Public Radio’s Amy Westervelt has the story for our series Bursting At The Seams.

Washoe County high schools that are exceeding their capacity, of which there are already seven, have various schedule constraints that take year-round school off the table.

Board Delays Year-Round Switch For Packed Schools

Dec 9, 2015
Julia Ritchey

  Four severely overcrowded Washoe County elementary schools have been spared from going to a year-round calendar next school year. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey reports.

The Washoe County School Board voted unanimously to keep Brown, Double Diamond, Maxwell and Sepulveda on a nine-month calendar for the 2016/17 school year.

The move gives school officials one more year to come up with a multi-track calendar that will be adopted by many schools in the district facing exploding student growth.

Julia Ritchey

Editor's Note: This story won an Associated Press Television and Radio Association (APTRA) award for best use of sound in a hard news story in 2015. Learn more

The Washoe County School District is facing an overcrowding crisis — with a majority of its schools at or over capacity. As we continue our Bursting at the Seams series, Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey visits Double Diamond Elementary to experience what it’s like as a student in a jam-packed school.  

School Board President Defends Davis Contract

Dec 1, 2015
Julia Ritchey

  The chairman of the Washoe County School Board says he wants to set the record straight on a controversial contract for Superintendent Traci Davis. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey reports.

Sixty-thousand parents and staff across the Washoe County School District got an email Monday night from School Board President John Mayer defending Davis' compensation package.

The note comes about a week after the board voted 5-2 to approve a $311,000 contract for Davis, which includes a longevity bonus, generous backpay and a car allowance, among other perks.

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