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School leaders to draft lobbying plan

by Christy Chalmers

Douglas County education leaders are planning a joint lobbying effort to urge Nevada lawmakers to dedicate more money for schools.

The school board, district administrators and the Douglas County Professional Education Association are holding a special meeting Monday night to craft a lobbying strategy. They are hoping parents and community members will participate.

“We will focus on how to mobilize parents and get them up to the Legislature,” said school board president Cheri Johnson. “I believe to make a difference and an impact, you need to include all the stakeholders. I know we will be able to come up with a significant strategy.”

Johnson said the meeting marks the first time in her six years in office that education groups have collaborated on a legislative strategy. DCPEA President Marty Cronin called the effort “a positive step.”

“The teachers are pleased to see a coalition in the community, and we look forward to the opportunity to have input in the process,” he said. “It’s a positive step.”

Cronin and Johnson said school funding will probably be a top priority. Johnson said trustees are concerned about having adequate funding to implement state-mandated competency requirements.

“The one thing we agree on is we are not adequately funded,” she said. “Even with Gov. (Kenny) Guinn’s budget, nothing has shown us we will get the funds we need.”

Though the DCPEA supports a proposal for a 4 percent business income tax, Cronin said the group will set aside its own agenda as it works with the coalition.

“This is not just a teachers’ salary issue,” he said. “There are a number of issues that need to be addressed.”

The groups will meet at 7 p.m. in the library at Carson Valley Middle School, 1477 Highway 395, Gardnerville.

What: special Douglas County school board meeting

When: Monday, 7 p.m.

Where: Carson Valley Middle School, 1477 Highway 395, Gardnerville.