Washoe County School District

One more Washoe County School Board seat is going on the November ballot, creating a total of five open positions.  

Julia Ritchey

Students from three Reno high schools will compete in a Paiute language competition next week. As Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey reports, the students are part of a critical effort to preserve the endangered language.

"I'm going to assign you an animal, and what you're going to do is write clues as to what animal you are..."

Instructor Emma Williams is leading a class of about a dozen students at Spanish Springs High School in a Paiute language lesson based on the Pyramid Lake dialect.

Julia Ritchey

The Washoe County Board of Commissioners passed on Tuesday a resolution for a school improvement initiative that will appear on a ballot this fall. Our contributor Bob Conrad of This is Reno has the story.

School advocates made an impassioned plea before commissioners about the condition of Washoe County schools.

Shaun Carey, who chaired a school infrastructure committee, made the case for the upcoming ballot measure which will raise sales tax to 8.3 percent, making it the highest in the state.

Noah Glick

During the last legislative session, state lawmakers passed two bills that are bringing more mental health professionals into schools across the state. Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick has that story.

Amber Reid is a social worker for the Washoe County School District. This year, she is joined by four new contract social workers, part of the state’s push to improve mental health services in schools, something she says is critical for improving student achievement.

Kenwyn Derby / Twitter

More than 200 educators from across the state met in Reno recently to discuss updating their curriculums to help kids overcome the effects of trauma. Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick has more.

Victoria Blakeney is with the new state Office of Safe and Respectful Learning Environments, and was one of more than a dozen presenters. She says that Nevada kids are experiencing trauma at higher rates than the national average.

“Our data shows that kids, more than half, are coming from at least one ACE.”

Washoe School Board Looking For New Member

Mar 8, 2016
Alexa Ard

The Washoe County School Board is looking for a new member to fill a vacant seat. Barbara McLaury told the Reno Gazette-Journal in late January that she was resigning because of health issues.

The board is charged with appointing her replacement and will hold a special public meeting Wednesday night to hear from 12 applicants for the position. During that time, candidates will have the chance to make public comments to the board. 

Alexa Ard

Washoe County voters will see a new ballot question in November, one that could help area schools deal with repairs and overcrowding. A committee voted on that question Friday. Our contributor Bob Conrad of ThisisReno was there has the story.

Julia Ritchey

The Washoe County committee charged with crafting a ballot question to raise $781 million for school infrastructure will make its final recommendation next Friday. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey has more.

The Public Schools Overcrowding and Repair Needs committee is considering two options to put to voters this fall.

The first would raise sales tax from 7.7 percent to about 8.3 percent, which would make it the highest in the state.

The second option would raise sales tax a little less, along with a boost in property taxes.

According to the Children’s Literacy Foundation, nearly 70 percent of America’s fourth graders aren’t reading at a proficient level. A digital company with ties to Reno is giving away a billion ebooks to get more kids reading. Reno Public Radio’s Anh Gray has more.

Rainshadow Community Charter High School

The 113 students at Rainshadow Community Charter High School in Reno will get to continue their courses this spring despite the school's teetering finances. The Washoe County School Board voted Wednesday to keep the facility open--at least for right now. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Billman has the story.

In order to avoid a large deficit this spring, the school has proposed slashing salaries by 16% and cutting three positions. The changes will keep the school just slightly in the black, but there are risks.

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.

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.  

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.

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.

Alexa Ard

All this week, Reno Public Radio has been examining overcrowding in Washoe County Schools for our series Bursting At The Seams. So far, we've talked a lot about the problem; we turn now to one possible solution: a potential ballot question that would ask voters to approve tax hikes for school infrastructure.

To learn more about that uphill battle, our News Director Michelle Bliss spoke to Tray Abney. He's with the Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce, which sits on the local committee in charge of that ballot question. 

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.

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.  

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