Las Vegas Sun

August 28, 2016

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Education:

School Board OKs plan to create, save more than 900 jobs

Walt Rulffes

Walt Rulffes

The Clark County School Board, taking advantage of new federal jobs money, voted unanimously Thursday to approve a plan to keep or create more than 900 jobs, including 500 teachers, in the schools.

Hiring could start “oh, 7 or 8 o’clock tomorrow morning,” Superintendent Walt Rulffes told the board.

Congress last month approved $10 billion in aid to states to save or create education jobs this school year.

Nevada gets about $83 million in federal money with about two-thirds of that, or $54 million, going to Clark County.

Deanna Wright, a school board member, noted the federal money is a one-year reprieve and there is no guarantee of a second year of funding. “But I want to do as much as we can as long as we can,” she said.

Board member Larry Mason said, “This money could save a family.”

Even with the 900 additional jobs, Rulffes said, “it’s pretty thin on a per-school basis.” More than 1,000 positions have been lost in recent years, he said.

Principals will largely determine where the jobs will go. Board members urged each principal to report explicitly what they do with federal funds.

Rulffes recommended on Aug. 26 to spend the federal money and more to restore or create 920 positions for $57.7 million. The largest part, 55 percent, or nearly $32 million, would pay for 500 teachers.

About $13.5 million will go for 300 clerical and support staff positions cut in recent years. The rest will go for 60 administrative positions, such as assistant principals and deans. Some administrators returned to teaching because of cutbacks.

The district is the fifth largest in the country, with about 310,000 students in 357 schools.

Rulffes said last week the supply of teachers far exceeds demand. “We have hundreds of teachers who are now applying for jobs that we don’t have right now,” he said.

“That’s quite a turnaround from two or three years ago when we were recruiting all over the world trying to find teachers to come to Las Vegas,” he said.

The district already has hired about 430 new teachers for the school year, but it still has a few other openings, mostly in the hard-to-fill subjects of math, science and special education.

Officials expect to have about 309,126 students this year, a 350-student decrease from last school year.

CORRECTION: This story originally reported the money would go to 120 administrative positions, such as assistant principals and deans, but the correct number is 60. The change has been made in the story. | (September 3, 2010)

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