SAN FRANCISCO - Facing a weakening Las Vegas-area economy, the Clark County School District is expected to remove a $7 billion bond measure from this November's general election ballot.
School officials say slower economic growth will result in fewer new students enrolling in the nation's fifth-largest school district, allowing them to postpone the bond measure until 2010.
The district was planning to ask voters to extend its 1998 bond authorization, which sets a maximum property tax rate.
The school board tentatively decided to hold off on the ballot measure after hearing revised enrollment projections during a work session Wednesday. It is scheduled to meet today for the final, formal vote to take the bond measure off this year's ballot.
Nevada's economy has been reeling from the bursting of the real estate bubble. For more than a year, the state has had the highest foreclosure rate in the nation, according to data published by RealtyTrac, an online marketplace for foreclosure properties.
The malaise has also spread to the gambling and tourism industries, traditionally pillars of the state's economy. Last week, Gov. Jim Gibbons announced that gambling tax receipts for June were $19 million below the previous June.
As a result of such revenue shortfalls, the state government is likely to cut its operating budget support to the district in its 2009-2011 budget, chief financial officer Jeff Weiler told the school board Wednesday.
Even without a new bond measure this year, the property tax rate will remain constant for three or four more years to support debt service for bonds issued under the 1998 authorization, according to a staff presentation prepared for the school board Wednesday.
Revenues from separate room and real property transfer taxes will continue and will support about $200 million in capital expenditures per year, according to the presentation.
District officials say a new bond authorization will be needed eventually, because the pace of growth is expected to pick up, driven in part by new and expanded hotel projects that are underway in Las Vegas.
"We believe were in a bit of a flat spot, but growth will continue," Weiler told the school board.
The district enrolls more than 300,000 students. All three rating agencies assign the district double-A underlying ratings.