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May 3, 2015

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Teacher cuts possible as Clark County School District prepares tentative budget

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The Clark County School District administration building in Las Vegas.

The Clark County School District could shed hundreds of jobs as it faces a “worst-case” budget deficit of nearly $64 million next school year if it doesn’t win its arbitration battle with its teachers union, according to a tentative budget summary to be presented to the School Board next week.

All governmental entities — including the School District — are required by law to submit a tentative budget to the state by April 15 for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1. The School District’s chief financial officer, Jeff Weiler, is expected to present the tentative budget to the School Board during a work session Wednesday.

The School District’s general fund — which pays for day-to-day operations — is expected to be around $2.05 billion next fiscal year. This represents a decrease of 1.7 percent, or $35.7 million, from the current year.

Since a budget is a moving target of the School District’s financial status with many constantly changing variables, the district’s budget deficit next year could swing from a “best-case scenario” of $3 million to a “worst-case scenario” of $63.9 million, according to a tentative summary posted Friday on the School District website.

Much of it hinges on the results of the arbitration battle still being waged between the School District and the Clark County Education Association, which represents more than 18,000 licensed teachers.

To plug its budget gap, the district is seeking concessions from its teachers union: salary step and education increases. (Its other three employee unions — representing administrators, police and support staff — made concessions during contract negotiations this year.)

The School District has warned in the past that hundreds of teacher positions may be cut should it lose in the arbitration. Even if the School District wins, some teacher, support staff and school administrator positions still may be cut because a one-time federal EduJobs stimulus of $54 million will not be renewed.

Here are the other variables that make up next year’s School District budget, according to the budget summary:

• State per-pupil funding is estimated to be $5,249 next school year. That represents a $113 increase from this year, or a total increase of $25 million.

• There is no reliable estimate of the property tax revenues coming to the School District next year because of the large number of taxpayer appeals. However, the School District is expecting a revenue reduction of 10.5 percent, or $30 million.

• Final student enrollment numbers for the upcoming school year won’t be known until “Count Day” in October. However, the School District is projecting enrollment of 307,574, or a decrease of about 800 students. Despite the decrease, the School District will be funded by the state using current enrollment figures — saving the district more than $3.4 million. That may change, depending on the rising demand for student support services; the School District anticipates an increase of 700 students who may qualify for special education services.

• Fund balances for the current fiscal year that would carry over into the next fiscal year won’t be known until the School District completes its annual financial audit in October. However, the district expects to carry over $25 million less than the beginning fund balance for the current year.

• As the 1998 school capital improvement plan winds down, the School District is looking to voters to fund a new, $5.3 billion capital improvement plan over the next decade to maintain and rehabilitate its aging school facilities. Without voter approval in November, capital-funded positions may be cut.

• Because of increasing gas prices and water rates, the School District is appropriating $8 million more for fuel and utility costs to operate buses and schools.

The tentative budget “represents a ‘starting position’ for discussion and planning purposes,” the summary notes. “Additional reductions may be necessary to arrive at a balanced budget.”

The School Board is scheduled to receive the final budget in May. The deadline for the School District to submit its approved budget to the Nevada Department of Taxation is June 8.

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  1. We would NOT be having this discussion IF the MINING industry paid its fair share. It is a fact, that the Nevada MINING INDUSTRY enjoys the lowest taxation rate thanks to them writing into the Nevada Constitution over 100 years ago protections for themselves, because at that time, mining was pretty much the only main industry in Nevada. Times have changed, but not the mining laws. They continue to pay a pittance for removing Nevada's non-renewable treasure trove of minerals out of the ground.

    Once again, teachers are being made to blame for a funding problem that Nevada LAWMAKERS refuse to change. In some way, shape, or form, these LAWMAKERS receive support for their political campaigns, reelection, and agenda from the MINING INDUSTRY. Nevada LAWMAKERS have proven that they are very unwilling to bite the hand that feeds them.

    If the Nevada Constitution was changed so that MINING paid even an average of what they pay in taxes in the other 49 states here in the USA, Nevada would realize more tax revenue and it would be a fair deal to all parties involved.

    Blessings and Peace,

  2. This garbage just enrages me. Look online at all the teacher hiring sites. Clark County is advertising all over the country for teachers at all levels. The district just participated in an online multi school district teacher hiring fair recently asking for teachers for all grades. Teachers and administrators are retiring in unusually high numbers this year. Your reporters have no idea how teachers are treated this year. Ask Dr. Jones for his seven page legal document instructing administrators how to get around the current evaluation process. There is nothing in the document about recognizing good teaching -try being objective for once and talk to some teachers in the district.

  3. CCSD must CUT ENOUGH to budget for text books and essentials. Soooo many idle teachers and small classes must stop. We have a new normal. Anyone who can read between the lines can connect the dots. And how about those dots from the Governor to the Supers? The Supers clearly have heard the word that they must do more with less and get per pupil expenditures down to the national norm yet GET "AVERAGE" RESULTS--graduates that can read and write English. Whether or not a teacher prefers 18 kids in his classroom versus 40 is NOT THE ISSUE. Just last week the Sun pointed out that the average compensation to a CCSD K-12 teacher is roughly $73K--for part time work--about 2/3 the hours of full time. CUT COMPENSATION and cut the number of teachers.

  4. Starry: It is IMPOSSIBLE for taxpayers to fund at higher levels when Nevada has more than 100,000 illegal students--with families that do NOT support our economy but rather drain our local economies via social services, crime, and large families. Our economy has told us, loudly told us, that our economy cannot support more of the same.

  5. clark county firefighters average $175k a year...
    and we are going to fire teachers...
    when we are near the bottom of everything related to education already...
    the leadership in this state is pathetic...

  6. Nevada - first in gambling - last in education - supports the country in education, that is, it brings up the rear or feeds on the bottom so everyone else in the country has it better. What a place! Impeach the governor.

  7. @Roselenda. You're right, it's not if the teacher prefers 18 or 40 in the classroom. It's the fact that with fewer students, the teacher can give more time to each students, has time to develop individual instruction to insure that the student learn what they need to learn.

  8. I urge everyone incuding Roselenda to be in a classroom with 40 kids, and tell me teachers don't deserve more.

    Right now, we can't give anyone the proper attention they deserve. Leaving the kids in limbo for years to come. With this battle we are setting ourselves up for failure.

    And Roselenda, that article includes all the adminstrators who make 100,000 plus a year. There are plenty of teachers who make less than 70 a year.

    If you look on the link, you will see a lot of Academic Zone Managers on there - which were created under Dwight JOnes.

  9. Federal Department of Education keeps telling us that small class size does NOT improve K-12 results and CCSD confirms it.

  10. @Roselenda. Actually, if you look at the CCSD report from 2010-2011 School year, that comment is disproved. ESD which provides services to at risk students has 22 high schools, and of those high schools 18 made AYP, or 81%. That is well above the CCSD average. What do all of those schools have in common? Small class sizes, so tell me how CCSD confirms the statement.

    Can you also provide the link to the DOE statement?
    This is a link to a DOE report on reducing class size. If class size doesn't matter, why is DOE providing Federal funds to help reduce class size?

  11. @Roselenda.

    This is from the Eureka County website. "Educational Opportunities
    The children of Eureka attend both elementary school and high school in Eureka. In addition to the K-12 curriculum, the school district sponsors a pre-school program. The student-teacher ratio is low in both schools and the expenditure per pupil is very high." This is the link.

    This is from the Eureka County School District (ECSD) website.

    "Located in south-central Nevada, ECSD is home for three public schools, Eureka County High School , Eureka Elementary School , both located in Eureka, and Crescent Valley Elementary School , located Crescent Valley, Nevada. Eureka is located on U.S. highway 50, 240 miles east of Reno and 115 miles south of Elko, Nevada. Eureka County High School is a combined Sr./Jh. school(11 teachers) with approximately 115 students. Eureka Elementary School(10 teachers) is a Pre-6th grade school with approximately 105 students. Crescent Valley Elementary School(3 teachers) has an approximate student enrollment of 30 students grades K-6 and is located 120 miles north of Eureka off Interstate 80." Can you say small class sizes?

    ECSD is a small rural Nevada district of 259 students in three schools, preparing our students for the much wider world. Since 2003 our students in all three schools exceeded AYP, and in 2009 earned High Achieving status for the two elementary schools and the high school. 100% of ECSD teachers are highly qualified, and continually monitor student achievement, and strive to improve instruction of standards to promote greater student learning. We use state of the art technologies including SmartBoards and 1:1 computers. We offer a comprehensive K-12 curriculum; and we have continued after-school tutoring programs and summer school at the three schools. We continue, for a third year, a 4-day school week to improve student and teacher attendance. It has been a popular success. We have a high level of parent involvement with nearly 100% of our parents attending school activities." This is the link to the ECSD site.

  12. @Roselenda. This is part 3.

    This is pay information for ECSD "Salary and General Benefits Package

    The Eureka County School District is proud of the fact that its salary ranks first among Nevada's school districts for entry-level positions. For the 2010 school year, the salary schedule ranges from $41,021 to $73,646 based on education and experience, in return for 147 days of service. The district is currently on a 4 day school work week. The district pays 100% of the health, vision, and dental insurance premiums for their employees. The district also has a liberal sick leave accrual system of 15 days annually and 4 days of paid personal business leave. Additionally, the district currently contributes 18.75% of the employee's annual salary to the Public Employees Retirement System. Certified personnel are covered by a collective bargaining agreement. All salary and benefits are subject to change pursuant to the collective bargaining process." The top pay for a teacher in ECSD is 84689 plus benefits.

    This is the link to the pay scale.

  13. More of the same is nothing but millions more wasted. Arizona gets graduates that can read and write at $1,000 per pupil per year LESS than CCSD. So that's $100 million a year in state funds wasted year after year after year. K-12 teachers top out about $96K in CCSD. OVERPAID. Average in funding, last in results.

  14. @Roselenda. Which of the 200 districts in Arizona are you talking about, or are you just pulling numbers out of the air again. So you think that a person with a PHD and years of experience is overpaid at 96K, which includes benefits. What would you suggest would be a suitable salary for a person with that education and experience?