Apparently it wasn’t enough to persuade the Clark County School District (CCSD) Bond Oversight Committee to approve a new Virgin Valley High School gym when five Mesquite parents attended the committee meeting Thursday, Sep. 17, in Las Vegas.
According to Amy Marshall, President of Mesquite’s Community Education Advisory Board, the parents “shared our reasons for needing a new gym, including safety, equity, scheduling difficulties, and Title IX issues.”
Jim McIntosh, CCSD Chief Financial Officer, presented a survey conducted online and from public input meetings around the District including one held in Mesquite Sep. 4.
Marshall said only the survey questions were shown to the Bond Committee and not the results. “They did not show the comments as they were still ‘being compiled’” Marshall remarked. “The Committee was shown four options of possible ways to categorize the money to be spent.”
Marshall said it appeared that the Bond Committee and CCSD officials had already committed to building 12 new schools and two replacement schools in the Las Vegas metropolitan area. That’s due in part to CCSD’s commitment to the State Legislature to begin using the bond rollover money as soon as possible.
“We knew we would be fighting an uphill battle on this issue,” Virgin Valley High School Principal Cliff Hughes told the Mesquite Local News. “I just don’t want the parents and students to give up on it.”
The 2015 State Legislature gave the District approval to rollover a 1998 school bond funding authority under which CCSD stands to gain $4.1 billion dollars over the next ten years. The bonding authority ended in 2010 causing the District to suspend construction of new schools and renovations on others.
The new and replacement schools already approved appear to constitute “two and a half years’ worth of the money already committed to projects,” Marshall explained after listening to Thursday’s meeting. “So they essentially wanted the committee to vote on projects to come next in about three years.
“The committee seemed to hesitate, not wanting to vote. It seemed as if they would table the decision until the next meeting. Then they were told that CCSD Board of Trustees wants to vote on the Committee’s recommendations at their next meeting on Thursday, Sep. 24,” Marshall added.
After questions and discussions the Committee went with one of the pre-decided options, she said. “VVHS Gym was not part of any of those options.”
“We do plan to be at the CCSD Board of Trustee meeting on Thursday,” Marshall said.
When more than 125 parents and students attended a public input meeting with representatives from CCSD including CCSD Board of Trustee member Chris Garvey on Sep. 4, they were all united on one thing; everyone wants a new high school gymnasium.
“Promises were made to us in the past,” Mesquite City Councilman Kraig Hafen told Garvey at that meeting. “Moapa Valley got a new gym. We were told we would get a new one also but we didn’t get it. We have 207 more students than Moapa Valley has. Our students have to use the city-owned recreation center sometimes because the high school gym doesn’t have enough adequate facilities. What happened to the $12 million dollars we supposedly got from the last bonds?”
“The previous Trustee representative made that promise,” Garvey clarified. “Things got pushed down the priority list. Technology upgrades were pushed to the forefront instead. The District spent $12 million on building renovations instead.”
Corrections of the MLN Editorial Sep 10, School Board Trustee Garvey needs to fight for School gym:
Virgin Valley High School Principal Cliff Hughes clarified the following comments made in the editorial:
“There is only one girls’ locker room at the current gym. When local girls host visiting teams, they are forced to use a classroom between and during games. The girls’ dance team is forced to practice outside according to another parent.”
“Parents of boys’ wrestling teams described totally inadequate facilities saying the boys had to practice in a classroom and then share the gym floor with the boys basketball teams to run their required sprints.”
Hughes explained that both boys and girls have two locker rooms. Boys have bigger lockers in their rooms to accommodate larger sports equipment like football helmets and pads. Using classrooms in lieu of locker rooms during games is the coach’s choice. It is also the coach’s choice for the girls’ dance team to practice outside. The dance team does share its practice room with the cheerleading team at times. Practice facilities for the wrestling team are a problem when all positions are full. A lack of adequate facilities is based more on the number of participants.