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August 22, 2014

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Clark County schools chief outlines budget crunch possibilities

Bigger class sizes, fewer special programs and a requirement that students pay to play sports are all possible with the Clark County School District facing $133 million in additional budget cuts.

Superintendent Walt Rulffes, in a memo released today, said trimming another 14 percent from the district's operating budget for 2009-10 would be difficult and painful.

The superintendents of the state's 17 school districts met Tuesday with Assemblywoman Debbie Smith, Speaker Barbara Buckley and Keith Rheault, Nevada's superintendent of public instruction. The topic was the recently proposed 3 percent room tax increase, and the possibility of steep cuts to K-12 funding when the Legislature reconvenes.

To cut $133 million from the district's budget, which tops $2 billion, would be the equivalent of eliminating 2,500 jobs, Rulffes said.

At risk are custodial positions, administrative costs, consulting services and classroom aides, among others. Rulffes said he will do his best to protect librarians, counselors and programs for gifted and talented students.

Shortening the school year would be one way to save money, but it isn't allowed under current law, Rulffes said. And trimming transportation services would only mean the district would receive less money from the state overall because bus services are calculated as part of the minimum per-pupil guarantee.

The district has already trimmed more than $60 million from its operating budget, in compliance with the governor's 4.5 percent cut of K-12 funding statewide. Most of the cuts hit new and expanded programs, and so far no student services have been directly affected.

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