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Proposal to allow city-based school districts gets one step closer to reality

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Proposal to allow city-based school districts gets one step closer to reality

Nov 23, 2022 | 3:44 pm ET
By April Corbin Girnus
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Proposal to allow city-based school districts gets one step closer to reality
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CCSD is the fifth largest school district in the country and is no doubt the primary motivator for the proposal. (CCSD photo)

A proposed law that would open the door for breaking up the Clark County School District met a key state deadline Wednesday, with backers saying they submitted more than 220,000 signatures to qualify a statutory initiative for consideration by the state legislature in 2023 or voters in 2024.

Community Schools Initiative is proposing changing Nevada Revised Statute to allow for incorporated cities to opt out of the county school district and form their own city school district.

“Our coalition brought forth the Community Schools Initiative to get decision making and funding closer to Nevada’s students,” said Dan Stewart, Community Schools Initiative chairman. “We urge the Nevada Legislature to pass this initiative next session.”

CCSD is the fifth largest school district in the country and is no doubt the primary motivator for the proposal. CCSD currently enrolls about 320,000 students.

The initiative petition reads that, amid Nevada’s skyrocketing population over the past 60 years, “countywide school districts have become difficult to manage effectively and have hampered delivery of quality K-12 education.”

The effort has already been endorsed by six chambers of commerce. The Community Schools Initiative PAC is headed by Henderson City Councilman Dan Stewart.

To qualify their statutory initiative, Community Schools had to submit a petition signed by 140,777 registered voters in Nevada — 35,195 from each of the state’s four congressional districts. That’s equivalent to 10% of the voters in the 2020 election.

Counties now have until Dec. 23 to certify the petition.

Assuming they do, the statutory proposal will be forwarded by the secretary of state to the Nevada State Legislature for possible action within the first 40 days of the 2023 session, which is scheduled to begin on Feb. 6.

Lawmakers can approve the proposal themselves, making it law. If lawmakers reject the proposal or fail to take action, then it would  automatically appear as a statewide ballot question in 2024, where it would need a simple majority of voters to approve it in order to become law.