Kazmierski: WC-1 a ‘gut check’ for Washoe County – SOS Washoe

Kazmierski: WC-1 a ‘gut check’ for Washoe County


The original story was posted on RGJ and can be viewed at this link.

I suspect we are all glad that election season is almost over. That said, I believe our local election is particularly important in that it really is a “gut check” for our community, a term that is used often in the military and in sports. Gut check is defined as “a test or assessment of courage, character, or determination.” In my experience it often speaks to the real character of a person — can they do what they know is right no matter how difficult or unpopular it is? Raising taxes is never easy and is certainly unpopular, but given the current state of our schools, can we as a community pass this very important test?

You have heard the push by the community-based coalition that our schools are in desperate need of repairs, that they are unsafe and overcrowded. I don’t believe there is anyone that has walked through our 40-year-old (on average) schools that can dispute this. We have the same problem today that we had in 2008, when the community was asked to approve a bond issue for the repair and maintenance of our schools, and again in 2013 when AB 46 failed. The need was real in 2008 and in 2013. Now it is just exacerbated by the decrease in available property tax funding, eight years of neglect and our emerging growth.

I suspect we are all glad that election season is almost over. That said, I believe our local election is particularly important in that it really is a “gut check” for our community, a term that is used often in the military and in sports. Gut check is defined as “a test or assessment of courage, character, or determination.” In my experience it often speaks to the real character of a person — can they do what they know is right no matter how difficult or unpopular it is? Raising taxes is never easy and is certainly unpopular, but given the current state of our schools, can we as a community pass this very important test?

You have heard the push by the community-based coalition that our schools are in desperate need of repairs, that they are unsafe and overcrowded. I don’t believe there is anyone that has walked through our 40-year-old (on average) schools that can dispute this. We have the same problem today that we had in 2008, when the community was asked to approve a bond issue for the repair and maintenance of our schools, and again in 2013 when AB 46 failed. The need was real in 2008 and in 2013. Now it is just exacerbated by the decrease in available property tax funding, eight years of neglect and our emerging growth.

There are many other concerns you may have heard: Our school board cannot be trusted with more taxpayer funds, or the school district has plenty of funding, more funds than they need (really?) This is the same type of thinking you hear inside your head when the going gets tough and you’re looking for a reason to stop, a plausible excuse to quit. We’ve all been there — the last mile of a run, the phone call for help in the middle of the night or an unimaginable loss. You are spent and almost broken, yet you manage to continue on, get it done, and do what you know is right.

As the organization responsible to lead the region’s economic development efforts, EDAWN believes that education is more important now than ever for our economic vitality and economic diversity – not to mention our kids. The environment kids learn in is crucial to their ability to acquire knowledge and ultimately to succeed. So let’s not let one of these many excuses enable us to quit or fall short of our goal: our responsibility to adequately fund our school infrastructure. We know it is the right thing to do and despite the pain associated with higher taxes (less than $90 a year for the average family) we have a choice to make. This election will be a test, an evaluation of what is really important to us. WC-1 is our “gut check” as a community.

Mike Kazmierski is president and CEO of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada.

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