To bond, or not to bond

Karen Gray

They say they pulled the school bond question from the November 2008 ballot out of  consideration for the community during these economically challenged times-"they" being the Clark County Board of School Trustees and Superintendent Walt Rulffes. 

However, maybe, just maybe, there were other considerations for this turn of events-that's what some close watchers of the board would suggest.­ 

One thing is for sure, on July 11th when the agenda went out for the July 16, 2008 school board meeting, agenda item 4.03 was noticed to set a timeline for campaign activities to support the bond initiative.  But somewhere between the posting of the agenda and the actual board meeting something changed, leading the board to begin discussing pulling the ballot question as opposed to setting a campaign schedule.

Perhaps it was the official filing of the opposition statement by the Opposition Ballot Committee earlier that week. The Committee argued that while Clark County has some overcrowded schools, CCSD also has empty seats at other schools. But, more interesting, the committee argued that the school district has forecast a ten year growth rate at "170 percent above last year's actual growth," and that the District had already overestimated enrollment growth by 85 percent last year.  Both arguments are strong and easily could persuade the public to question the need for a $9.5 billion bond, which is, effectively, a $6 billion increase from the 1998 bond. In other words, yes – a tax increase would ensue. Adding to the gauntlet the district had to run, the committee pointed out that Clark County still has money left from the 1998 bond, and that other sources and avenues exist to fund the building of new schools.

I can't really say for sure that this opposition statement steamrolled the Board's decision, but having witnessed the chaos surrounding that agenda item, I'd have to say someone threw a monkey wrench into the District's plan to milk $9.5 billion out of taxpayers.