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Emotions strong as School Board approves massive cuts

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Updated: 5/17/2012 10:02 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) – Teachers in the Clark County School District face an uncertain future.

School Board trustees approved a budget Wednesday night that calls for more than 1,000 layoffs that could come as soon as next school year -- and those cuts will be felt in the classroom.

Contract negotiations between teachers and the district broke down after the district said it needed to freeze teacher pay raises to balance their budget. The matter went to arbitration, and the arbitrator decided raises were appropriate for teachers.

Tempers flared at meeting where trustees unanimously approved what they said were a painful plan for the district's financial future, made up of cuts mainly to teachers.

“We’re going to get through this as a family, and we're going to come through this stronger,” said School Board President Linda Young.

The approved budget that will be sent to the state office of taxation, per Nevada law, includes a reduction in school staffing to levels at about 93 percent, eliminating 840 positions, many of them teachers.

School literary specialists will also be eliminated, freeing up cash from 175 positions.

Both cuts total around $60 million in savings to balance next school year's budget.

As district leaders discussed cuts, they were met with anger by teachers -- so much so that at one point teachers just walked out.

Trustees said they were disappointed in what they call inappropriate conduct.

Ruben Murillo, speaking on behalf of teachers, said the showing was simply a way to voice dissatisfaction at a district which they believe are lying about how much money is available and teachers were being made the scapegoat for what they say is bureaucratic greed.

With layoffs, the district says class sizes could increase by as many as three students.

The most crowded elementary schools will receive extra help in the form of additional instruction aid staff and portables, which will come from existing resources within the district.

The district says it's been warning this would come with its budget outlook.

Money could be freed up based on how many teachers retire next school year and what actual school populations turn out to be. An analysis of these factors will come out in a revised budget in December.  

Teachers should receive layoff notices by the second week in June. Those who retire or resign will likely lower the overall number of layoffs.



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