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School district needs Union approval for Race to the Top grant

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Updated: 10/31/2012 7:22 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- School district leaders are upset this week over what they call a missed opportunity.

The district stood to gain up to $40 million through a Race to the Top federal grant but as News 3's Gerard Ramalho found out, it looks like CCSD will not be sending in an application after all.

It's no secret the Clark County School District could use more resources including additional staffing and technology or anything to boost education in the valley.

The "Race to the Top" grant seemed like a perfect opportunity. A competition with other districts, that could have netted ours up to $40 million.

The only requirement is community and teacher union support.

"That funding goes directly to the classroom to support and help the teachers that they claim to represent,” said CCSD spokesperson Amanda Fulkerson.

The Clark County Education Association has chosen not to sign the application, which is part of the grant requirement, they say it was a call for collaboration and union leaders say they didn't get it.

"We’re union members asked to be a part of any of the initial planning? says Elle Holmes, CCEA Director of Professional Learning. "[We are] Not a part of the initial planning."

Union leaders argue they were essentially left out of the planning. The district denies that claim but outsiders are likely to view it as a missed opportunity one in which the students pay the price."

District leadership had earmarked the funds for hi-tech tools, literacy intervention and up to 46 teachers and support staff.

The union won't say it disagrees with any of these items specifically only that they didn't get the chance to offer their input.

"But we want to participate collaboratively on the front end, in the development of the plan, in the creation of the mission and vision and in the implementation of the plan," Holmes said.

The deadline to apply for the grant is this Friday and as of now, union leaders can't see changing their mind.

Still several in the community are urging them to reconsider, including Governor Brian Sandoval, who has offered to broker a negotiation if it will help.

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