School committee formed to explore bond initiative

A committee to explore the possibility of passing a school bond in Douglas County held its first meeting Thursday night at Carson Valley Middle School.

"We'll bring in principals from different schools and prioritize issues," said committee member and school board president John Louritt.

Louritt told committee members that it was their committee and not the school district's.

"Not everyone in this room is going to agree with the district, but you'll need to agree on your recommendations to the board," Louritt said. "We'd like the leadership to come from the group itself, and not the district."

Out of 30-35 Douglas County residents invited to be part of the committee, only nine showed up who were not part of the school board.

Committee members represented a variety of Douglas County residents, including Sherry Smokey from the Washoe Indian Tribe, local rancher Fred Stodieck, Gerene Sayre from Greater Nevada Credit Union, Johnelle Prado from Zephyr Cove Parents Club and Assemblyman James Settelmeyer, R-Gardnerville, among others.

Prado was elected to be chairman of the committee. Sayre was elected to be committee clerk.

"This is one of the most important committees you'll ever serve on," Douglas superintendent Carol Lark told them.

Lark, along with business service director Holly Luna and JNA financial consultant Jennifer Ripplinger, will serve as an advisory board to the committee, making sure members have the financial and political information they need.

Settlemeyer warned other members of the difficult task before them.

"Let's not fool ourselves," he said. "Bonds are extremely difficult to pass in Douglas County."

Louritt said if the committee recommends to the school board that bonds are needed to fund school improvement projects, which, Louritt said, the committee doesn't have to recommend, the board would need to get a bond measure on the 2008 election ballot no later than June.

"We have a short window to sell this to the community," said committee member and Douglas County employee Michael Brown.

The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Oct.10 at Gardnerville Elementary School.


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