By law, school construction money can only be used for school building and repairs. The law requires that we have a separate account for that money (the “capital fund”) which has strict reporting and oversight requirements. This money cannot be used to pay teachers, school administrators, legal fees, and more – it is solely for the costs associated with building and repairing schools. How money is spent is governed by state law in terms of open public bidding, reporting requirements, and oversight by a separate committee of citizens who ensure, through public meetings, that the money is spent properly. Various internal and external audits have shown this money to have been properly spent in the past, and national credit ratings agencies have consistently given WCSD high bond ratings in part due to our “prudent fiscal management.”
The Washoe County School District has taken community oversight of these funds to an even higher level and created a new citizen committee called the Capital Funding Protection Committee to give the public an even greater role in determining how construction money is spent, down to specific projects. This independent committee must first approve all new or changed building plans, proposals, repairs, and all other projects. This committee then makes these recommendations to our Board of Trustees. If the Board then makes any changes, the plans go back to the citizen committee for its approval. Read more about this committee, its members, and process.
After that process, another independent group must certify that only building projects are funded, and a different independent committee formed by state law must give approval for the amount of debt any bonds would incur. All these groups hold public, open meetings.