CCSD Facing $250 Million Budget Shortfall - 8 News NOW

CCSD Facing $250 Million Budget Shortfall

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LAS VEGAS -- The Clark County School District's Chief Financial Officer says the district is facing a budget shortfall of $250 to $275 million.

Jeff Weiler presented the updated figures to the CCSD Board of Trustees Thursday morning as they discussed their financial situation.

The trustees unanimously voted against Governor Brian Sandoval's plan to use $300 million of a capital debt service funds to balance the budget. There were concerns that if this money was used, the district would not longer be able to pay all required principal and interest payments starting in 2013.

Clark County Trustee Chris Garvey choked back tears in the grim board meeting. The loss of funding comes out to $870 per student. Another 939 jobs funded by federal Title 1 and stimulus jobs may be lost.

But Thursday's fight was over $300 million from the district's debt service reserve. That account was approved by voters in 1998 to repair and maintain schools. Without that money, some in the local construction industry fear they'll be hit hard.

"Taking money from this reserve fund, it will destroy our economy. It's not only wrong, it's criminal," said Richard Williams with the Carpenter's Union.

Former North Las Vegas Mayor Mike Montandon says recent case law gives the legislature the authority to take the money out of CCSD's hands.

"The Clean Water Coalition is going through the same issue," he said. "The state legislature has the right to take money from any political jurisdiction."

School officials say the governor's plan could harm the district's AA credit rating by scaring away bond investors. Board members unanimously resolved to oppose the governor's plan for those $300 million.

"I know that you are feeling like there is no hope and that you're depressed, but don't let that depression grab you and make you ineffective. Go out there and have your voice heard," said Garvey.

The district is now looking at other alternatives. CCSD must adopt a tentative budget in April even though state funding may not be known until June.

In a statement, Governor Sandoval said, "I am committed to working with the Legislature to find solutions which improve our schools. No one wants to see cuts to education. I understand the school board's position, however, I firmly believe it is more important to use this money for salaries and classroom needs. Despite our differences on this issue, I look forward to working with the school district on efforts to reform education."

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