Inside: Capital Improvements: Big Spenders in Vegas

The Clark County (Nev.) district, the fifth-largest school system in the United States, will need $9.5 billion over the next 10 years to accommodate a steadily growing student population and address modernization needs.

Projections show that the school system, which encompasses the fast-growing Las Vegas area, will have 473,000 students in 2018. In fall 2007, it had nearly 309,000 students. The district says it will need to spend about $5.2 billion to build 73 new schools over the next 10 years. It also will need about $4.3 billion to modernize or replace existing schools and provide educational equity.

The district will ask voters in November to approve a $7 billion property tax proposal to pay for the bulk of the 10-year building program. The remaining $2.5 billion will come from hotel and real-estate transfer taxes.

As district officials plan for the next 10 years, they are working to wrap up its previous 10-year construction program, most of which was paid for with a $3.5 billion bond issue that voters approved in 1998. When finished, that program will have paid for 101 new schools.

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