By Carla O’Day
The public is invited to attend a town hall meeting this week to learn more about the financial outlook and challenges facing the Washoe County School District.
The meeting is scheduled at 6 p.m. April 6 in the theater at Wooster High School, 1331 E. Plumb Lane.
Traci Davis, superintendent of schools, and Tom Ciesynski, chief financial officer, plan to speak and will take questions.
“We look forward to sharing information about our budget challenges,” school board vice president Katy Simon Holland said in a statement. “This is an area of critical concern, especially since there are public misconceptions we are eager to address with accurate information. It’s important that our community has up-to-date information about our financial picture moving forward. Transparency is a vital part of our mission as a district, and we trustees are anxious to hear honest input from our community, discuss facts about the situation, and answer questions at this meeting.”
The district is dealing with an approximately $30 million deficit as it prepares for next fiscal year, and among top reasons include property taxes not being in sync with economic growth.
Potential cuts could mean increasing class sizes on average by two students in fourth through 12th grades, which would eliminate 114 teaching positions; reducing athletics, arts, music, and transportation; and reducing ability to purchase educational materials.
The shortfall isn’t related to the November passage of Washoe County question 1, which increased sales tax by 0.54 percent to pay for new schools and repair existing schools. Funds generated through WC-1 only can go toward construction of and refurbishing of facilities. This money cannot be used for teacher or administrator salaries or other school operations.
A final budget for the 2018 fiscal year is due to the state Department of Taxation by June 8 and the deadline for filing an amended final budget is July 5.
For more information on the district’s financial situation or to submit questions, visit
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Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.