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Lack of audits meant CCSD wasn’t eligible for state safety grants

The Clark County School District soon will begin conducting safety assessments on hundreds of schools, bus yards and administrative buildings — a requirement to be eligible to receive state grant funding for safety improvements to its facilities.

The district plans to use $789,000 in facility improvement funding — part of the new school safety funding passed this year by the Nevada Legislature — to conduct the assessments at 302 schools, seven bus yards, two administrative buildings and school police headquarters.

The district also plans to use its own funds to conduct audits at the roughly 60 remaining schools in order to review the safety of all sites.

The $789,000 in facility improvement funding for the biennium was a portion of the district’s original request of roughly $12.6 million.

But the district was not eligible for all of the requested funding because it had not completed the safety audits.

Jason Goudie, the district’s CFO, said the district was trying to apply for everything at one time in hopes that the state would award funding for facility improvements in advance of the audits.

“It was a process that was just brand new,” he said.

Overall, the district received roughly $12 million over the biennium in new school safety funding, which includes money to hire social workers and police officers, develop social-emotional development programs and the money for facility improvements.

The district also received roughly $13.7 million over the biennium in money from an existing social workers in schools program, which the Legislature added to with its new safety funding.

But the $12 million in new funding was just over one-third of its original $34 million request.

It’s a sore spot for the Clark County School District, which has expressed concern that the funding is not proportional to its student population as the state’s largest school district.

“We are again and again seeing that we are not getting the ratio of share for the amount of students that we have and the safety issues that we have,” Trustee Chris Garvey said at a board meeting last week.

The state has not yet awarded roughly $15 million in facility improvement grants, money that the district can apply for after it identifies specific improvements via the audits.

The demand for safety funding was high among the state’s school districts.

There was not enough money to fulfill the requests from all of the applying school districts in three of the four safety categories, according to the state Department of Education.

New social worker funding stood at roughly $4.9 million for fiscal year 2020, but districts across the state requested nearly $9.3 million. Meanwhile, districts requested almost $6.5 million in funding for police officers for 2020, more than the roughly $4.3 million available.

The roughly $2.4 million for social, emotional and academic development for each year of the biennium was also not enough to fulfill requests that came in at over $4 million for fiscal year 2020 and over $3.3 million in fiscal year 2021, according to the department.

Contact Amelia Pak-Harvey at apak-harvey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4630. Follow @AmeliaPakHarvey on Twitter.

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