Indy Education: Fallon school bus driver celebrates 55 years behind the wheel
Welcome to Indy Education, the latest newsletter from The Nevada Independent, focused on K-12 education news across the state. I’m Rocio Hernandez, the K-12 education reporter.
Education is something I’m personally passionate about as a graduate of Clark County School District and the sister and aunt of current students. I know firsthand there are many issues to be addressed, but there’s also lots of good. Without some of the many great CCSD teachers who crossed my path, I don’t think I would be here today.
My goal for this newsletter is to give you a recap of the latest education stories as well as highlight interesting educators, students, programs and other events and resources throughout the state. Click here to subscribe to the newsletter and receive it each Tuesday via email.
I want to hear from you! Send questions, comments or suggestions on what I should be covering to [email protected].
- Looming threat from Clark County teachers union – The Clark County Education Association (CCEA) may meet this Saturday, Aug. 26, to decide whether its members should take “work actions” as the union and the school district continue to be at odds over proposed pay increases for teachers. On Friday, the school district shared its latest proposal: an 8.5 percent increase in the first year of the new contract, and a 2 percent increase in the second year, among other compensation boosts. CCEA said in its own statement it “stands firm on our contract proposal of 10 percent in year one and 8 percent in year two” as well as other demands.
- New resource center at Winnemucca high school — Last Monday, Communities in Schools celebrated the opening of its first resource center at Albert M. Lowry High School in the Humboldt County School District. The nonprofit is focused on dropout prevention. The resource center was made possible, in part, because the Legislature this year passed SB189, also known as the Keeping Kids in School Act. That bill appropriated $2 million to the nonprofit to provide support services related to academics, physical and mental health, social and life skills and other basic student needs. CIS aims to expand into 17 more schools statewide.
- State funding for school garden program — Green Our Planet is receiving $3 million in state funding as part of a so-called Christmas Tree bill, SB341, which passed this session. The nonprofit said the money will allow it to expand to all Title I schools across the state, reaching 500 Nevada campuses by 2025. The school garden program and hydroponics laboratories will allow more than 300,000 students to learn STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), nutrition, conservation and entrepreneurship skills through hands-on experiences.
- Wi-Fi passes for Clark County library card holders — The Las Vegas-Clark County Library District is launching a program for families without access to Wi-Fi in their homes. Thanks to a $3.8 million grant from the federal Emergency Connectivity Fund, the library district will be able to offer access to Cox Wi-Fi hotspots to 50,000 low-income residents with library cards. Each user can access the Wi-Fi on up to three devices. Visit the library district’s website for more information and locations of participating libraries.
Churchill County school bus driver on 55 years behind the wheel
Tina Grenamyer-Nickles has driven three generations of families, including her own children and grandchildren, in her 55 years driving Churchill County students to school.
“They say, ‘Oh, you used to drive my mom or my dad,’ and I say, ‘Yes, I did. So I know who your parents are so you know how to behave.’”
Grenamyer-Nickles became a school bus driver for the district in 1969 when she was 26 years old. At the time, she and her family had recently moved to Fallon, located east of Reno.
Prior to the move, she had worked as a computer programmer, but back then there were no similar jobs in Fallon. She said she took a job as a school bus driver because it fit in with her life as a mother of two young kids — one who was entering kindergarten and the other, 3, who rode the bus with her.
Grenamyer-Nickles retired in 2010, and has been a regular substitute school bus driver for the district ever since.
“Right now I have a route that I am driving four days a week because they are in need,” she said. “So I really have not missed a week of school driving a school bus since I retired.”
She said her favorite things about the job are the students, the routes and the convenient work schedule. Her favorite music to play on the bus is country, but she will take requests from students who want to listen to rock or other modern music with a few exceptions (hard rock and rap).
Have a student or staffer who we should feature in the next edition of School Spotlight? Share your nominations with me at [email protected].
What comes next for Opportunity Scholarships remains an open political question, likely to be decided as much by the next election as any other key issue.
The Clark County Education Association (CCEA) filed a motion Monday to dismiss a Clark County School District (CCSD) lawsuit to prevent a potential strike over ongoing disputes over teacher pay raises.
Rebecca Feiden, executive director of the State Public Charter School Authority, is stepping down from the role. Her last day is Sept. 8.
The library — which serves a community of about 40,000 residents — is considering a new policy that, if approved, would require that children’s books dealing with race, gender and sexuality be reshelved in the adult section.
Extra Credit Reading:
Former Indy education reporter and editor Jackie Valley writes about the rise of microschools, which are alternative options to traditional public schools.
The Clark County School District is expecting several thousand fewer students this year than last school year, which would mark the sixth consecutive enrollment decline, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
🍎 Washoe County School Board meeting – Aug. 22 at 2 p.m.
The agenda includes two potential appointments to the Sexuality, Health and Responsibility Education (S.H.A.R.E.) advisory committee and a presentation on proposed health insurance rate increases
🍎 Clark County School Board meeting – Aug. 24 at 5 p.m.
The agenda includes an overview of the 2023 legislative session, a review of proposed charter schools and a presentation on chronic absenteeism
🍎 State Charter School Board meeting – Aug. 25 at 9 a.m.
The agenda includes discussion on the upcoming search process for a new executive director for the State Public Charter School Authority and review and possible approval of charter school transportation plans
🍿 Movies at the pool – Aug. 25 from 7-9 p.m.
The city of Reno is hosting a free screening of Finding Dory on Friday at the Northeast Reno Pool. The event is free to the public, however, participation is limited to the first 100 attendees, so people are encouraged to arrive early.
An artist in the making