Reno’s Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) and its implementation arm: Downtown Reno Partners, was formed illegally and unethically from the start. Realizing that they would never get a majority of downtown property owners to vote for this double tax, the City Council chose to weight the votes of larger property owners – and used ballots which only allowed for a “Yes” vote, which enabled the Council to declare majority approval, even though over 75% of the property owners voted against it. BID’s have been a 100% failure in reducing homelessness and crime in EVERY city that has tried them.(Ex.: LA, San Francisco, and Seattle ALL have had BID’s for years). BIDS simply provide large businesses extra security services and promotion activities, paid for by the countless businesses who don’t benefit from these things at all. BID’s don’t reduce the homeless population. They merely push it into other parts of the city, which is currently the case with Reno. Eventually, entire communities become saturated with ever-growing homeless populations that the city refuses to let the police enforce the law with, and you have another San Francisco.
The BID issue does NOT just concern downtown property owners. Historically, City Councils try to forcefully create BID’s in ALL neighborhoods, because they provide an extra taxation source that Councils can use any way they choose, and increase on an annual basis without any approval from property owners who are being taxed.
Why have the hundreds and hundreds of private property owners in downtown Reno refused to stand up and demand that the City stop forcing them to pay ever-increasing double taxes, for which they receive no benefit?
QOL-RENO’S SOLUTION FOR SOLVING THE BID ISSUE
Downtown property owners, and ALL community members need to jointly contribute a small amount each, to fund a legal challenge against Reno’s BID (the first one in Nevada). If this was successful, and there is much legal grounds for believing it could be, then property owners ANYwhere in Reno who wanted to contribute to, and participate in a VOLUNTARY “merchants’ association” could do so, and NO property owner would be forcibly taxed against their will
For over 10 years, the union contract for Reno Firefighters has allowed them to have 2-to-5 times the DUI limit for illegal drugs and alcohol while on the job, with no consequences. Not ONE City Council member, NOR the City Manager, NOR the Fire Chief NOR any firefighters have publicly spoken out against this. Neither the Washoe County Firefighters nor the Reno Police have similar clauses for tolerating drugs/alcohol on the job, nor does ANY fire department in the nation that we know of. No one benefits from allowing the policy to remain in effect.
Why do the City Manager, the entire City Council, the Fire Chief and 100% of the Reno firefighters refuse to speak out against this outrageous and dangerous contract provision, and insist that it be changed to conform with contract provisions for Reno’s other public safety workers?
QOL-RENO’S SOLUTION FOR SOLVING THIS PROBLEM
• Contact the City Manager, Council, and Fire Chief with calls, emails, and newspaper letters/op-ed’s demanding that this policy be changed.
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• Reno’s current debt and pension obligations exceed $1 billion. Meanwhile, Council members continue to give away multi-million dollar City-owned properties to political supporters and/or rent them far below market value. • Instead of the entire Council collectively granting funding to various community activities throughout the year, EACH Council member receives $25,000 annually to specifically dole-out in their voting ward. The result is a blatant buying of votes for upcoming elections.
Why is the Council giving away and/or renting below market rate costly city properties that could be used to pay off our $1 billion debt? Why doesn’t the Council give community grants as a collective body, rather than letting each Council member have an individual slush fund for buying votes in their voting wards.
QOL-RENO’S SOLUTION FOR SOLVING THE WASTEFUL AND UNETHICAL SPENDING PRACTICES OF CITY COUNCIL
• Pass a Council policy requiring a marketplace rate for ALL City properties that are sold or rented • Eliminate the Council’s personal slush funds for individual members, and require that ALL community grants be approved and distributed by the entire Council.
Frustration grows – RPD refuses to enforce laws against homeless –
something has to give
HOT SHEET EDITORIAL
Reno Police Officers owe community a “Vote of No Confidence” for Police Chief
Hiring or firing a Chief of Police should never be a question of personalities. It should be about ensuring that the office holder has the broad law enforcement experience, moral courage, and proven leadership skills to do the job. A good “Chief” must possess the strength of character to support his/her officers’ full and impartial enforcement of the law, even if that requires standing up to city officials and risking continued employment. Effective police chiefs are also committed to frequent, transparent communication with their communities as they pursue what should be their ONLY goal – to serve and protect the residents whose lives are in the Chief’s hands.
Reno Hot Sheet’s opinion is that Reno Police Chief Jason Soto has insufficiently demonstrated these traits during his tenure and should be replaced. Under his leadership, Reno’s crime rate has continued to exceed national levels, and our national crime/safety grade is an “F”. (Source: The Reno, NV crime data is derived from the FBI’s uniform crime reports for the year of 2018.)
Soto’s ineffective leadership has allowed large-scale retail theft to reach epidemic proportions. Most importantly, the Chief has not shared a comprehensive plan for stemming the tidal wave of vagrant crime sweeping through Reno.
At a time when our community needs to hear confident, frequent messaging from our law enforcement leader, Soto remains silent, with occasional superfluous presentations to City Council. He has given abundant proof that he is incapable of leading our community out of its growing problems with homeless-related crime.
But Reno Hot Sheet’s opinion should NOT be the determining factor in whether or not Chief Soto is replaced. Soto’s continued employment as RPD’s Chief should largely be determined by how the majority of rank-and-file officers feel about his leadership.
Numerous RPD officers have expressed to the Reno Hot Sheet their frustration with Soto’s leadership – primarily his refusal to allow them to firmly and fairly enforce our existing laws regarding criminal vagrants who oftentimes hide behind the “homeless” label. Officers have stated their disgust with what they perceive as Soto’s caving in to the timid law enforcement stance of the City Council and Mayor. Officers speaking to the Hot Sheet have said they are “embarrassed” by the Chief’s refusal to let them provide Reno residents with the safe and law-abiding community they’re capable of delivering.
But talk is cheap. The real question is: Does Chief Soto’s lack of effective leadership bother RPD officers enough for them to deliver a vote of no-confidence from their union? This action, rather than off-the-record comments by frustrated officers, would bring to the forefront the discussion of whether Chief Soto should continue as RPD Chief of Police.
RPD receives tremendous support from our community – including paying taxes that provide officers with good salaries and generous pensions. No other single group in Reno is more trusted and relied upon to maintain our safety and quality of life than our police officers. If RPD officers do not agree with Chief Soto’s weak law enforcement practices and want stronger leadership, they need to send that message to the community with an immediate vote of no confidence.
• Reno’s national grade for criminal activity is an “F”. • Reno’s homeless-by-choice population has the highest crime rate of any demographic, and commits murder at a rate 15 TIMES greater than their part of the population. • Reno Police, pressured by City Council, rarely enforce the Reno Municipal Criminal Code against the homeless. • Reno’s homeless offenders can have their cases heard in a much more lenient Homeless Court
QUESTION: Why aren’t the Reno Police equally enforcing the City Municipal Criminal Code with ALL citizens, including the homeless?
QOL-RENO’S SOLUTIONS FOR IMPROVING CRIME AND LAW ENFORCEMENT PROBLEMS
• Reno City Council must allow the police to enforce the City Municipal Criminal Code firmly and fairly with ALL community members • Eliminate the Homeless Court. ONE system of justice and ONE set of consequences for EVERYONE.
30-Day Homeless-Challenge Results:
QOL-Reno proves Council doesn’t understand the problem and is wasting MILLION$
On November 25, 2019, QOL-Reno presented a challenge to the City Council.
From 11/24/19 to 12/24/19, the City Council couldn’t find ONE of Reno’s 1,000 chronic on-the-street vagrants, falsely identifying themselves as legitimately homeless, who QOL-Reno couldn’t get housed and employed in 72 hours, IF the vagrant was willing to simply: • Get clean and sober • Work a steady job that QOL-Reno would help them find • Get mental health treatment if they needed it
QOL’s opinion is that Reno’s 1,000 vagrants are ON the streets (and not in the countless good, supportive programs) because they don’t WANT to do what it takes to get off the street, NOT because of a lack of jobs or affordable housing.
Thirty days later on Dec. 24,
QOL’s premise was proven 100% correct.
After offering QOL’s housing and employment package to hundreds of vagrants, QOL and the Downtown Ambassadors found only 22 individuals who called QOL to ask for more details. • Of these 22 individuals who called QOL, 21 immediately lost interest and disappeared when they were told that in order to get housing, they had to stop using drugs/alcohol and be willing to work a steady job. • ONE PERSON out of the 1,000 vagrants on the street said she would be willing to fulfill the requirements. Twenty-four hours later, QOL had her employed in a $15.50/hour job and with a bank account for her pay checks and Social Security check. Because she was employed, the VOA shelter agreed to extend her residency for a few more weeks until the nice-quality, affordable apartment she found would be ready. • Meanwhile, the City Council made ZERO referrals to QOL’s offer, but DID find time to approve ANOTHER multi-million dollar taxpayer funded project that gives free housing to the 1,000 vagrants who do not WANT to be sober, work, or obey the law.
What did this challenge prove? • The tens of millions of dollars the City Council is spending on government-funded and directed homeless programs is NOT needed • The Council’s approach to solving Reno’s homelessness is making the situation worse. • The Council needs to adopt the QOL-Reno Homeless Plan, that emphasizes: 1) Helping those who want to be helped, and 2) Firm, fair law enforcement for those who DO NOT want help, and are merely hiding behind the “homeless” label.
HOMELESS MYTH BUSTING IN RENO
MYTH #1: “The Homeless-by-choice on the street are hungry and have no money.” FALSE! QOL-Reno’s research found that ANY single person on the street has access to: • 25 food pantries that supply enough food for over 70 meals per week • Two free meals, 6-7 days per week through a variety of providers • Either food stamps for almost $200 per month and/or disability, social security, or pension checks ranging from $700-$1,000+ per month.
MYTH #2: “The homeless-by-choice on the street have no affordable housing options.” FALSE! QOL-Reno’s research found that EVERY contacted private program, half-way house, sober living, etc. “ALWAYS have openings.” These programs require sobriety, employment, law-abiding behavior, participation in life-changing programs, and counseling if necessary.
QOL-Reno also found that the City’s homeless shelter “RARELY has openings.” This program has been described by its own management as “dangerous,” “chaotic,” and “unsafe.” The City’s shelter allows unlimited amounts of drugs and alcohol in its clients, doesn’t require employment, law-abiding behavior, participation in any type of life-changing programs, or mental health counseling/programs.
MYTH #3: “The Homeless-by-choice on the street can’t find employment?” FALSE! Reno has numerous employment agencies that can place anyone with an ID and a clean drug test at a job the following day for $12 – $18/hour.
Watch the full interview of “Warren”.
From Homeless to Healed Reno’s Homeless Plan Will Never Work – I Should Know
by Tim McGivney
Reno’s homeless plan will never work. Not “later.” Not after they pour millions more into it. Not ever. I know that firsthand – because I was homeless and an IV drug user on the streets of Reno for far too long.
I’m clean and sober now, a good husband and dad, and working a good job. NONE of that would have happened if I’d followed the Reno City Council’s homeless plan.
Reno’s Homeless Plan does NOT work and will NEVER work in Reno, just like it has NEVER worked in any city in the country that has tried it. The reason is because it does not deal with the main issues that kept someone like me on the street. Reno’s Plan doesn’t require the four important things that anyone hoping to get off the street has to be willing to do.
Reno CAN’T require these four things for its Homeless Plan as long as they accept federal money.
If Reno’s City Council refused federal funding, like the Reno/Sparks Gospel Mission does, they could require their homeless clients to follow the 4 things that lead to success, just like the Gospel Mission does.
Then, Reno’s homeless plan would actually help the homeless, just like the Gospel Mission’s does.
But Reno’s City Council refuses to let go of the federal funding. Therefore, their program continues to help almost no one who is in the situation I was in on the street. That’s why Reno’s homeless problem continues to get worse and worse.
Reno’s Homeless Plan is actually a trap that harms the homeless. It misleads them into believing they are victims of tough times, that they’re not responsible for their situations, and they just need other people in the community to give them everything.
Homelessness is absolutely about tough times …but the tough times are almost always caused by the homeless population’s OWN self-destructive habits. Just like MY problems were caused by MY refusal to do the 4 things listed above.
Reno’s Homeless Plan will put people who do NOT want to be clean and sober, employed, or law-abiding into nice clean homes, paid for with tax money. The houses won’t stay nice and clean for long. The homeless will destroy them. Then they will demand that the city spend more money to buy them MORE new homes. If you don’t believe me, go look at the City’s homeless shelter downtown and see how it has been trashed. Then go next door and compare how nice the Gospel Mission facility is, because they DO have rules.
One of the worst things about the Reno Homeless Plan, is that it will attract MORE homeless people from all over the country. Vagrants who don’t want to take self-responsibility will continue to network with each other about the great deal in Reno and keep moving here. They’ll hear that homeless people in Reno can do anything they want to do, including breaking most of the laws. They’ll hear that the City just keeps giving the homeless tons of free stuff, without requiring them to do anything. That’s how Los Angeles and Seattle got to be like they are. That’s what Reno will become if things don’t change.
How do you make homeless people WANT to be clean/sober and obey the laws? You have to hold them accountable for what they do. People who support Reno’s Homeless Plan say that you “can’t arrest your way out of homelessness.” From firsthand experience, I can tell you that’s NOT true. I went to jail over two-dozen times. Finally – BECAUSE of that experience – I got sick of wasting my life and tearing my family apart. Finally, I listened to a local pastor who showed me how to turn to God and walk with integrity. Finally, I decided I wanted to be a good dad, which meant I had to stop using drugs, obey the law, and get a job.
The Reno City Council’s homeless plan is not caring or helpful to people it temporarily takes off the street. It just enables them to keep using until they die, go to prison, or completely lose their health.
If Reno’s City Council really cares about helping the homeless – the people who are destroying their lives, just like I was – they’ll change their approach. They’ll change their plan to REQUIRE the homeless who want help to be clean and sober, work, obey the laws, and get mental health counseling. Nothing else works. I know.
About the author: Tim McGivney is a lifelong Reno resident. He welcomes feedback at timmcgivney@icloud.
RENO’S INCREASING HOMELESS POPULATION AND ITS RELATED PROBLEMS ARE NEGATIVELY IMPACTING:
• Tourism • Efforts to attract new businesses • Crime rate • Quality of Life • Our debt-ridden city finances • Availability of public safety services to the rest of the community
Why is the City Council following and funding a homeless plan that has NEVER worked in ANY city where it has been tried? It is the exact same plan that has ruined Los Angeles, Seattle, and many other communities.
QOL-RENO’S 4-STEP SOLUTION FOR SOLVING RENO’S HOMELESS PROBLEMS .. ALMOST OVERNIGHT!
1) Eliminate HUD funding and oversight of Reno’s Homeless Shelter, so clients can be required to: be clean/sober, employed, seek mental health counseling (when needed), contribute to the cost of sheltering them, and obey the law.
2) Allow the Reno Police Department to fully and fairly enforce the city Municipal Code, including illegal camping
3) Eliminate special “Homeless Courts” where they receive little or no consequences for the crimes they commit
EXCERPTED RESPONSES FROM QOL-RENO 2019 ONLINE SURVEY OF WCSD TEACHERS
66% of respondents knew teachers at their school who have been assaulted by students.
→ I have personally been verbal abused with all kinds of nasty language only to find the child back in school the next day at “in-school”
→ I had a fellow teacher get punched in the eye . Kids were suspended for 3 days.
→ I was assaulted by a parent and district did not press charges, My face was severally battered, and I suffered temporary vision loss!
→ I was hit with a wooden stick; I was bit and punched.
→ Students wield scissors as knives, throw sharpened pencils, tables, equipment, and other school materials. They are running out the doors and into the street, forcing us to do the same. They climb tall fences to escape. They slap, hit, bite, kick, etc.
→ Teacher was hit in the head with a laptop by a third party while trying to keep two students away from each other.
→ Spit on, verbally abused kicked
→ CRL or SpecEd student attacked a sub and a teacher as well as other students.
→ We have an overwhelming number of severe behavior problems, with no district support or help.
→ [I’ve received] scratches and bumps; no significant injuries
→ Some sped kids or kids who have anger issues throw chairs punch kick, etc.
→ A teacher was punched repeatedly in the head. Teachers have been shoved.
→ I have been kicked, punched, and bitten. Several of my colleagues have been punched, kicked, and scratched.
→ I’ve been punched to the ground, had the wind knocked out of me, stabbed with scissors, choked, slapped, bitten, and sexually harassed. Nothing ever happens. They (the administration) just don’t care.
→ I have been kicked by a student while breaking up a fight. I was punched in the face and had to seek OSHA/doctor treatment when I intervened in a fight.
What were administration’s actions after the incident(s)?
→ Too often we are told admin can’t suspend the kid because parents work.
→ After this cruel treatment by the school and district, I quit!
→ Administration’s actions after the physical incidents are supportive of the teacher, but admin. have to follow so many disciplinary steps before any major action can be taken.
→ Removed child from classroom after the incident for part of the day, evacuated other students, had discipline department come in collect data
→ Always a touchy subject until administration gets assaulted by a student.
→ The admin tried to do something about it, but the District said because of the status of the student nothing could be done.
→ This seems like a survey aimed at putting all the blame on school administrators. They have an important role in how a school operates.
→ The problem was not with site admin, but the district admin refused to allow the student to be removed or even physically restrained even though he was a danger to others.
→ No, students are not held accountable for their actions. Students with IEP’s are able to get away with anything (sexual assault, fighting, disrespect) and are not punished due to being on an IEP.
→ Our administration does what it can with the resources our school is given.
→ THIS IS MY BIGGEST CONCERN! This is truly my biggest concern.
→ They were talked to and then returned to class within 5 – 10 minutes
→ I was told to “be more positive”.
→ Site administrator has hands tied due to school district policy for these behaviorally challenged students. The data that needs to be collected takes months for teacher and principal. The behavior specialist will offer ideas but no supports. PARENTS are never accountable. It is a cycle that does not work.
How often do students treat teachers disrespectfully?
→ Students don’t hesitate to destroy classroom order because they can’t fail or receive any disciplinary consequences for their actions.
→ Half the time
→ When a student has been sent to an administrator for disrespect or misbehavior, were the consequences appropriate? What did the administrator do?
→ Administrators are limited in what they can do. Students know there are few, if any, consequences so the behavior rarely stops.
→ Admin says their hands are tied by district policies (fear of being sued).
→ There is usually a discussion, call home and possibly in house or out of school suspension
→ My administrator told me not to send kids to her … that I should call the parents myself. When I did, she disapproved of that.
→ The administrator can only call home, call the police or school resource officer, and do in school suspension due to the new AB 168 law.
→ Usually talks to them sometimes I’ve seen them give candy or let them have a time out with Legos
→ Go to the Wellness Center to “cool down”
→ Rarely are the consequences appropriate. Usually the student is returned to the classroom.
→ The state legislature needs to remove its role in establishing protocol for school discipline.
→ One of our students grabbed another child by the throat and threw him on the ground. The principle gave him a sticker for promising not to do it again.
→ At my school, we say it’s the lollipop and sticker philosophy. They always come back after being given a time-out and “reward” for being ready to be back in class.
→ It is not the site administration that I am concerned with, it is the district‘s policies on students who are disruptive in the classroom. We have to jump through so many hoops and document for months for any changes to be made.
→ They sometimes don’t do sh&#. You know why? Because the whole system from top down is broken.
→ There needs to be a better and quicker way to remove students who are destroying the education of students who want to learn.
→ Most administrators are fearful of backlash from parents and the threat of legal implications.
WCSD has claimed increased graduation rates for 3 years. During that same time period, ACT test scores steadily declined. How do you explain the difference between WCSD’s locally-controlled results (graduation rates) and the ACT’s nationally-controlled test results (ACT results)?
→ Increased graduation rates have come at a cost of decreased rigor. As a teacher, the quality of what I do is never assessed. The only thing the district cares about is how many students are passing. If too many students are failing, the teacher comes under heavy criticism, so in order to take the pressure of failures off, standards are lowered.
→ We are passing kids along! They aren’t learning, they are just completing the work. We have intersession classes where a kid can make up a semester’s worth of work. We are failing miserably at setting the standard and holding the kids accountable. We have too many kids in AP and honors courses that shouldn’t be in these classes. They slow down class progress for the kids who truly need to be challenged with their education. Counselors are doing students a disservice by allowing them into these classes. After all an A in standard Biology is better than a D or C in AP Biology.
→ I believe that the school district removes low preforming students from their overall reported statistical rates. I am aware of a charter school that was recently closed by the district that was meeting the needs of such students. Providing them the time to catch up so as to graduate, just not in the “accountability” reportable timeframe. However, it made a difference in these students lives, and now they have had that taken away thanks to the district!
→ Administrators manipulate data
→ We don’t hold students accountable, and teachers can’t “fail” students because it looks bad.
→ Standards are lowered for graduation, and we changed the calendar for credit recovery
→ Students no longer are required to take an exit exam like the high-school proficiency or end of course to show they have acquired the requisite knowledge. It’s easy to increase graduation rates if it is based on credits, and therefore grades, alone.
→ Grading standards have been lowered: kids can get a 50% and pass with a C-.
→ I was pressured to inflate my grades so seniors who should not have passed did.
→ As a teacher, we are expected to “make it happen” even if it means to put critical thinking skills and rigorous curriculum aside for the sake of helping the student “pass the test.”
→ Graduation rates are manipulated to show a high rate. Teachers are pressured to pass kids that have no business passing a class.
→ Graduation rates have been manipulated by the district. Another example of how little the district cares about students, just public opinion.
→ Students can graduate without taking an ACT test.
→ There was a change in diploma definition. Adjusted versus standard.
→ Many parents at home are not supporting their students. Students are continually below grade level.
→ WE are passing students up to the next grade level who can’t even read basic CVC words or do basic math.
→ Graduation rates are just a spin. The rate is increased by not counting students who didn’t do all four years in WCSD, or who didn’t finish, etc. In other words, you are looking at only those students who did everything but didn’t earn all the credits (failed classes they didn’t make up) and/or didn’t pass the high school exams. It is a very limited statistic that really means little.
→ Final class exams are no longer given. It used to be that students had to pass these exams to graduate. We have improved our graduation rate by having no standard to graduate them by, other than arbitrary grades.
→ Pressure from Traci Davis to graduate all students filtering down to site administrators filtering down to the teacher.
→ Our last three superintendents gamed the system by making a fifty percent a passing grade in infinite campus. Teachers have zero control over the grading system.
→ Grades are inflated. When students are failing the teachers aren’t allowed to fail them. At minimum, they get a D even if they do NOTHING! Also, the attendance policy is a joke. Office staff and administration wash the absences even if make up work was never completed.
→ Students no longer have to pass a proficiency test to graduate. We test kids continually but never hold them accountable for their low test scores.
→ I think that for the last 3 years under our previous administration, students were allowed to “graduate” that should not have. I think that overall there is a lack of rigor because it can’t be enforced. Students who perform poorly are not held accountable for their grades. Teachers are told to change Fs to Ds, and Ds to Cs.
→ Local tests and national tests do not correlate nor are they written to help students be successful. National tests are not written in a way that are clearly understood by diverse populations of students.
→ Many students who don’t believe they are college bound tank the test.
→ There has been an implied threat for years to raise graduation rates. Therefore, many teachers take the attitude that it isn’t worth losing a job or getting a poor evaluation by failing students. One high school principal even told our staff, “Students don’t learn anything by failing a class.”
WCSD students continue to achieve at one of the lowest rates in the nation. In your opinion, what or who is causing this, and what is the best way to increase achievement?
→ We need to set higher standards for our students starting at the elementary level. Most accountability for performance does not start until high school. Students who do not meet the standard should be held back. We should not have students in high school who can’t read or do basic math.
→ Lack of parenting or parent support, problem children being allowed to stay in a general education setting and a mass teacher exodus because of these issues and lack of support.
→ Too many central office administrators and too large of a district
→ Lack of parental involvement, lack of accountability for students being responsible for their learning.
→ Lower class sizes and teacher support for discipline issues. Also, more autonomy in making curriculum decisions.
→ I believe the culture in the schools are not conducive to accountability and learning. We have too many administrators that are pushing paper and not enough feet on the ground working with and caring for the kids … always giving the teachers more administrative work and almost zero encouragement…. Is anyone researching what the top 5 states are doing for their success?
→ Teachers are giving far too much busy work (NEPF Evaluation paperwork, Read by Grade 3 paperwork, Restorative Discipline, TNTP Paperwork, etc.) that their lesson plans are suffering. Also, we are losing the ability to work with kids on their interests. We have too many ‘canned’ programs now. We are losing the art of teaching and therefore, our joy of teaching.
→ Low student achievement can be attributed to larger class sizes, less per pupil spending, inequity and inequality across the district and lack of discipline that not only hurts the disruptive student but all the other students trying to learn in that environment. Smaller class sizes, more per pupil spending, equity in equipment and resources, and better school discipline.
→ … it’s hard to be positive when you haven’t had a raise in 7 years … and that 3% Sisolak promised … still haven’t seen it … how come Vegas has?
→ Too much politics
→ The number one problem is the lack of funding. Teachers are not paid enough to keep talent in the profession or to attract new teachers. Then, the legislature needs to quit legislating things they no nothing about. For example, SLOs are a waste of valuable time as is the standardized testing. In addition, the attendance policy is ridiculous as students can miss as much school as they want and be able to make up all work and file an appeal. Teachers spend time keeping track per the legislature to no avail. Finally, the WCSD is top heavy and spends money foolishly. For example, superfluous positions and huge salaries and benefits for ineffective superintendents. I have a first hand account of the amount of fancy food served at their district meeting this last Friday morning. While the person did not attend past the morning session, they were going to be served lunch. While this may seem minor, it is difficult to justify that kind of frivolous spending when we can’t even get a raise. As we hear about all the spending, including the rumor that someone is being paid to write memos to district personnel for our acting superintendent, our morale goes further down, which inadvertently affects our teaching, and in turn, student achievement.
→ Better parenting
→ Lack of parenting and students don’t want to learn they are on their phones they eat Takis in the classroom. They are tardy. Disruptive, rude and they believe they are equal to teachers. Substitutes are completely disrespected.
→ Students are not passing classes but will be given a passing grade. Students will fail 7th and 8th grade but will progress to 9th, why? Teachers will get low marks and can be fired for not passing a high enough percentage of students despite students refusing to do work or turn anything in.
→ WCSD paid for a year long study. It found it would take seven days per week plus two hours of student contact time to teach the bare minimum the district requires teachers to teach. Teachers are literally defeated before they walk through the door. They buried the study, and continue to pile on even more every year. They don’t care that we can’t be successful; they get the shiny, bulked out resume and we get burned out. We are being micromanaged by narcissists. Our admin is so out of touch they feel entitled demanding teachers break the laws of physics, then blame teachers for burning out. You want to increase achievement? Let teachers teach. Fire the micromanaging admin; most of them have less classroom experience than teachers and the same or less amount of college education as teachers. Expel violent children and put them in reform school. When a parent assaults a faculty member, call the real police and press charges. Teachers are good people; we deserve to feel safe at work … just like everybody else.
→ We have become a test driven district vs. what is best for students. Our new ELA program is basically year long test prep. Students need to develop a love of learning at the elementary level and the current curriculum and the fact that we have to use it “with fidelity and not supplement” does not encourage that love of learning.
→ Holding students accountable for their own learning. Too many parents do kids work for them and fewer and fewer students are doing homework.
What is the biggest issue challenging your school site?
→ It is difficult to choose just one.
→ I personally find the most difficult challenge being pressured to make sure kids pass when they won’t show up to class or do their work.
→ Student violence/misbehavior
→ Overcome poor leadership decisions made by WCSD administrators (at the higher levels).
→ Too large- too many students for the numbers of teachers
→ Behavioral issues and staffing
→ Valuable teacher time spent jumping through hoops to satisfy requirements of legislators to prove we are doing our job (SLO) and working w/ students who are significantly behind academically.
→ Too many students and big class sizes
→ Inconsistency with discipline, curriculum, teacher planning time, expectations and humanitarianism.
→ Student Behavior!
→ Discipline and lack of parent support in the student’s learning.
→ The lack of professional leadership by our principal.
→ Discipline. Disrespect.
→ Teacher morale.
→ It has been better this year, but demands put on teachers is stressful and anxiety-ridden.
→ No matter what we do, it is never enough.
What should the WCSD Board of Trustees do to improve our schools?
→ We need to have leadership that will improve the quality of the education, not just graduation rates. We also need to move away from expecting all kids to go to college and help students who are interested in trades explore those careers. We are trying to fit every student into the same “college” box instead of helping them find a career they will love while making a contribution to our community.
→ Get out.
→ They have failed the community repeatedly and still get re-elected. Not only that but most of them are clueless to the real issues in a classroom. Put a rotating teacher on the board who can bring a perspective to their choices that actually matters to a classroom.
→ The disconnect between the top of the district and the people actually doing the real work of teaching is so far apart that it feels like two separate entities.
→ Get informed about poor leadership in the district. Nepotism and cronyism is pervasive; I have seen it firsthand in departments such as Information Technology, Special Education, and Area Superintendents
→ WCSD Board of Trustees should work harder to protect teachers and students form “time wasters” that don’t directly affect teaching and learning.
→ Be more present. Go sit in a kindergarten or first grade class for a day and watch how much we really have to do in a day.
→ We need a reboot … get rid of them all … they are really good at approving pay increases for the past 3 superintendents that were an embarrassment to our kids.
→ They need to find leaders (superintendents) who believe in public education and are not using the position as a political stepping stone.
→ Start the school board meetings at 5:00 so the teachers- and all the other working adults- can attend the meetings. Conduct only business at board meetings and save the awards/ love fest for awards ceremonies, graduations, etc.
→ Be in the schools every day! ideally and reality are 2 different things. Trust the teachers and believe what they say is going on because it’s probably worse than that
Doe 6/7 of the School Board having no teaching experience hinder their ability to provide expertise in leading?
→ It is difficult to know how they can lead when they have no personal experience of what is happening at the schools.
→ School Board members and legislators should not be making decisions about my profession if they have no experience or expertise in child development and/or teaching.
→ It should be at least 1/2 teachers and then there should be mandatory field trips to the schools to build relationships and understanding rather than just come in for “observations”.
→ They have never been in the trenches … wtf do they even know?
→ The Board of Trustees definitely have a disconnect with the needs of schools. Policies that they enforce are counter productive.
→ Would a person without training or experience enter a burning building? How could they put out of fire if they don’t know the science behind safe mitigation? Board of Trustees should have a school background to know the issues first-hand.
→ They should each have their individual offices at a school site and meet in the board room for their common meetings.
→ If the individual can provide a role in making the district better, without using their biased viewpoints, they could do a good job.
→ If you have never taught, you have no idea what we do on a day to day basis. It’s not for the weak.
→ If they haven’t walked in my shoes, how can they make decisions???
Do you have any other information about WCSD (administration, staff, schools, students, funding, etc.) that the community should know about?
→ Many teachers are very frustrated. Most who I talk to love teaching and love the kids, but the way our district is run is causing many to leave the profession.
→ Teachers are exiting at an alarming rate. Morale is extremely low and most teachers care so much that they cry when their students suffer. Parents as a whole are terrible, student behavior is severely impacting learning, too much focus on teacher is to hit numbers yet they have so little say in how they get there. Schools are overcrowded and underfunded. The stress is wiping out teachers. Most teachers I know have had to start taking antidepressants.
→ Sadly, I have watched the WCSD go down hill my entire career
→ Furthermore, our high school received a Star for having the high AP enrollment. Students were pressured to take AP classes even though the classes were not appropriate for their skill levels. What was most beneficial for the students was ignored all to make our numbers look good.
→ Thank you so very much for providing us this platform. Best of luck.
WHAT’S NEW WITH WCSD’S 49th-IN-THE-NATION RANKED SCHOOLS? “I would NEVER send my child to WCSD schools.” (WCSD substitute teacher)
QOL-Reno interviewed a WCSD substitute teacher about his/her experiences in our high schools. Excerpts follow:
• When the class bell would ring, about 1/3 of students were in my classroom, and the other 20-25 were wandering the school grounds with no consequences. • Students who weren’t even enrolled in my class would come in and verbally abuse me, and in one instance assaulted me. When I tried to stop this behavior, the students would say, “You can’t stop me.” When I reported the incident to the principal’s office, they did nothing. • Maybe 5 out of 35 students in class were trying to do their work, and the rest were just playing on their phones during the entire period. There was almost no learning taking place. • The smell of marijuana in the classroom was pretty constant. • I observed no discipline of any kind on the campuses I was on. • The student behavior at the richer and poorer high schools was equally bad. • I would NEVER send my child to WCSD schools. Parents have no idea what is going on. They should know that their kids are getting exposed to drugs and constant lying. Our high schools are nothing but teenage daycare centers, functioning in mildly organized, dangerous chaos.
JUST THE FACTS
Former Superintendent Traci Davis was fired for-cause by the WCSD School Board July 1, 2019. Has the School Board learned enough from this ongoing fiasco to hire – and supervise — a superintendent who will fix the mess that is our WCSD school system?
The leading education survey (2019 Editorial Projects in Education) shows Nevada schools, including WCSD, are the 49th worst in the nation based, on 3 criteria:
75% of our 4th and 8th graders are below grade level in Math and English on the national NAEP test)
Hope for the Future?
Children in WCSD schools children rank as having the LEAST likely chance for a successful future
Poor money management by the Superintendent and School Board
WCSD has run a multi-million dollar budget deficit for the past 11 years, and has more administrators than school districts 10 TIMES its size.
Graduation rates (which WCSD can – and DOES manipulate) are increasing!
Meanwhile, the most important ACT national test (which WCSD can NOT manipulate) – shows that almost 90% of our graduating seniors do not qualify for college level classes … and the scores have declined for three straight years.
Should your 11-year-old child be taught about anal and group sex in school sex education, but be taught NOTHING about moral values? 5 of the 7 WCSD School Board members think they should.
https://qol-reno.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Reno-WCSD.png10951500Val Whitehttps://qol-reno.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/QOLRENO-TitleLogo-Blk-300x74.pngVal White2019-08-01 15:31:062020-01-30 11:49:32WASHOE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT
Although most people living in U.S.cities, small and large, have encountered homelessness at some point in their daily lives, the large majority are unaware of the depth of the problem, the solutions being implemented nationwide, and the costs.
The recently published article “Seattle Under Siege: Record numbers of homeless people are occupying the city’s public spaces, despite massive government spending to fight the problem” by Christoper F. Rofu provides an insightful analysis of Seattle’s homeless situation. Although the article focuses on Seattle, it could easily and accurately describe a multitude of cities across the country. Readers will recognize similar activities and participants in their own communities.
QOL-Reno.org is working to address a growing homeless problem impacting Reno’s quality of life. We invite you to join this “quality of life” citizen activity to bring much needed solutions to our community. Just click on the “Contact Us” and “Subscribe” links to learn about upcoming activities.
https://qol-reno.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/homeless-2090507_1280-trim.png413922Val Whitehttps://qol-reno.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/QOLRENO-TitleLogo-Blk-300x74.pngVal White2019-01-17 18:45:032019-08-05 15:07:13ARTICLE/PODCAST: Intro to the politics of "Homelessness"
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