Council hears school district update

The Mesquite City Council heard its quarterly report from Clark County School District (CCSD) Assistant Superintendent Grant Hanevold at its Tuesday, Jan. 9 meeting which was a mixed bag of good and bad news.

Hanevold reported that volunteers who spend more than four days a month at any school previously had to make a 160-mile round trip to Las Vegas to be fingerprinted as part of required background checks. All training had to also be physically done in Las Vegas. “That has presented a burden to your community,” Hanevold said. “As of right now, fingerprinting can be done locally through the police department. They will forward the fingerprints on to CCSD.”

Hanevold said he’s trying to work on processes that would allow training to be conducted electronically through the Internet thereby negating the need to travel to Las Vegas. “Your request to have that done locally is a very reasonable request in my opinion,” he said.

He addressed the transfer of responsibilities from CCSD central administrative offices to local schools as required under new state laws saying he was aware that local school officials had requested control of electrical utilities costs be given to them.

“It’s not as easy as saying ‘let’s just transfer the utilities,’” Hanevold said. “We could take an average of the last three years [of utility payments] and transfer those funds. If the school can recoup savings then that money should go back to the school. In conversations with school principals that make perfect sense.

“The rub comes from transferring, let’s say $100,000, to Virgin Valley Elementary School. If we have unseasonably warm or cold weather and utilities cost $120,000, there are very few principals that will say ‘let’s absorb the extra $20,000.’ It cuts both ways.”

Hanevold reiterated that it wasn’t that the district didn’t want to pursue the idea but to make it fair to the schools.

He announced that schools will be receiving their strategic budgets next week.

Councilman Brian Wursten asked Hanevold about attrition savings of $150,000 that local schools should be receiving from teacher positions not being filled. Hanevold said that “according to district officials, that money is not coming back here at least for this year. I believe the money should come back. I’m not going to defend that it shouldn’t happen, but I will say that it appears that the district does not have the same interpretation.”

In other business, the council approved a development agreement between the city and Nevada Residential Construction, LLC., for the Mesquite Estates Planned Unit Development. A previous agreement expired in 2014 and the original developer has since gone defunct.

The new development agreement with the remaining owners / developers of the existing undeveloped parcels reinstates and extends out the duration of the agreement, amends existing language on density transfers, and amends parks and open space requirements.

The housing subdivisions are located on the north side of the city near the Lincoln County line. The agreement leaves intact dedicated land for a school and fire station for the future.

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