One of the most prevalent and persistent themes in the Clark County School District’s history is its growth. From the earliest days of the new school district to its present status as the nation’s fifth largest, it has been a constant challenge to accommodate the flow of students coming into the county.
Student populations double decade after decade, and new schools continue to open, but it is difficult to keep pace. CCSD continually struggles, balancing the need for more buildings with limited budgets.
The district has often resorted to creative solutions: In 1956, with over twenty thousand students, the newly-formed Clark County School District reverted to half-day, or double sessions. Ten years later, even with an aggressive building campaign, half of the almost sixty-three thousand Clark County students were still attending double sessions. And ten years after that, the battle for seats and funding remained. In fact, each decade since has faced the challenge of providing for steadily increasing student enrollment with slow-growing operational budgets.
Even with the passage of bonds, which provides funds for new construction and renovation of older school buildings, the operating budget must provide for staff, services, and supplies. So, while the taxpayers may support a new bond to build more schools, the state’s educational budget often does not provide funds for more personnel, textbooks, or microscopes for the increased student population. Activities and special programs frequently bear the brunt of budget cuts, and unfortunately, many programs that are cut, such as middle school competitive sports, are never brought back.