Realty organizations give to SOS Washoe
Supporters of SOS:
Bldg & Construction Trade-Cope
Friends For Kitty Jung
Reno Sparks Association of Realtors
Reno Sparks Association of Realtors Government Affairs Fund
Rick Shepherd For Congress
Ryder NV Management, LLC
SRF Reno Land, LLC
One East Liberty
S3 RENOvation Investors
GBS 1401 S. Virginia St.
Western Nevada Supply
The Chamber Political Action Committee
The Nevada Association of Realtors - Incline Board of Realtors
Nevada Association of Realtors
Spanish Springs Associates
The Builders Association of Northern Nevada
Heinz Ranch Land Company, LLC.
Washoe Education Association
Washoe Education Association
Grand Sierra Resort
Washoe County Principals Association
The Coalition to Save Our Schools received a big boost when the Reno-Sparks Association of Realtors made a check presentation of $200,350 at a press conference at the RSAR offices on Aug. 9.
The presentation was made possible in conjunction with the Incline Village Association of Realtors, the Nevada Association of REALTORS and the National Association of REALTORS.
Save Our Schools (SOS Washoe) is a group made up of business leaders, public officials, parents and teachers tasked with increasing funds for critical infrastructure improvement projects in Washoe County schools.
Their research culminated in WC-1 on the November ballot, which will increase the county sales tax by 0.54 percent, spreading the cost among residents, visitors and businesses. Funds raised are earmarked for school infrastructure.
Projected costs of infrastructure improvements and construction is expected to reach $800 million by 2024.
SOS Washoe is now working to ensure the measure passes.
Kevin Sigstad, Nevada Association of REALTORS past president and Realtor with RE/MAX Premier Properties in Reno, said there’s an urgent need for funds for repair and renovation projects in the Washoe County School District as well as construction of new schools in the future.
He added that if problems are not addressed it can damper the education system and force potential companies to look elsewhere to relocate, because of an insufficient future workforce.
“Anybody who does business in the community has a vested interest in the schools,” Sigstad said. “The schools on average are 30 to 40 years old, have HAC needs, asbestos problems, just from A to Z. $30 million today will bring schools up to speed so they are hospitable for instruction.”
William Process, president of the RSAR, who has two small children attending Washoe County schools, has served as a voice from the parent’s side of the issue and interacted with teachers in the areas about problems with some of the schools. He said it’s a problem that needs to be dealt with now, as labor and material costs continue to rise.
“I’m seeing firsthand what’s going on, I’m hearing teachers directly, and the problem is getting worse,” Process said. “If you don’t fix your roof at your home, what’s going to happen? It leaks. We need to stop pushing this back and kicking it down the road.”
Information provide by SOS says one in three schools has gone more than 30 years since construction or renovation while one in five schools is overcrowded. Brown Elementary School, for instance was built in 1989, is currently 163 percent over capacity while Mount Rose Elementary, built in 1911, is 147 percent over capacity. And the situation could get only more problematic as the region continues to grow.
Alex Bybee, campaign organizer for SOS Washoe said the organization has reaching out to everyone throughout the community through a grassroots strategy.
“It’s about going door-to-door, talking to our neighbors and to businesses in the community who would have a vested interest in the initiative,” Bybee said. “We leave no stone unturned.”
So far, at least two dozen individuals, businesses and organizations have lended their support for the cause. Grand Sierra Resort and Casino is one of the latest to pledge its support with a $25,000 donation to coalition.
“Our schools are bursting at the seams. If we don’t do something now, our schools will continue to be neglected, and our kids’ lives will be disrupted by double sessions. As an employer, that isn’t something I can sit by and let happen,” said Kent Vaughan, senior vice president of hotel operations for GSR in press release.
Christal Park Keegan’s professional experience includes working as an attorney for the National Judicial College in Reno and for the Chapman Law Firm in Northern Nevada.