Votes last week approved a $155.8 million general obligation bond authorization for the Washoe County School District in Reno.

The proposal, which passed with a 56.2% approval rate, includes $75.3 million of funding for eight new elementary schools and one middle school. Another $46.9 million of proceeds would provide improvements for older schools.

The balance of the funds targets various items, with the largest chunk, $13.1 million, providing computers for educational and administrative uses.

The district tentatively plans to sell $51.9 million of the bond authorization this year. The $103.9 million balance would go to market two years later, based on current plans.

Rapid growth is a major factor behind the need for the GO bonds. District enrollment stands at 40,000, up from about 31,000 a decade ago. The district projects that enrollment will grow another 33% by 1997, to more than 53,000 students.

The district had almost $97 million of GOs outstanding as of April, most of which stems from a $90.8 million new-money issue that was sold in 1987 and subsequently refinanced. Moody's Investors Service rates the existing GOs A1 and Standard & Poor's Corp. rates them A.

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