LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Now that the legislative session has wrapped up the Clark County school district knows how much extra money it will have in the coming school year. Amid the looming threat of a strike, Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara says he’s confident students, and teachers will be in class on the first day of school.
The Clark County School District had been looking for about $111 million beyond what Governor Steve Sisolak’s, D-Nev., budget called for to covert the cost of providing the teacher raises and more health care next year. They got most of it, so now they’re trying to figure out how to make the numbers add up.
By the time lawmakers finished the legislative session Monday night CCSD’s funding gap shrank from $111 million to $17 or $18 million. In a closed session before Wednesday’s meeting with members of the school board, Jara told trustees his financial team was crunching the final numbers to see what’s left to cut.
“My conversation this morning with the board is what do we do that we can make some reductions that are not an immediate impact to the classroom,” said Jara said.
The Clark County Education Association says if teachers get raises, but classrooms are impacted by cuts to make that happen, then the strike is still on in the fall. Though Jara isn’t saying exactly what his team is looking to cut, he says cuts that would increase classroom sizes, for example, are off the table.
“Our teachers have the largest class size in the country, and we can’t; I will not do that,” Jara said.
On Monday, Jara said the district will have its final calculations completed.
So what’s up next: The district will make its final decision on what cuts need to occur. Then the school operating teams will take a few weeks to decide how to make cuts, and fold the new funding into their budgets.
According to Jara, the math will add up to avert a strike.
“It’ll be hopefully by the end of June when we’ll have the final numbers and ready to open up school,” Jara said.
By the way, this will all be happening at the same time as contract negotiations with the Clark County Teacher’s Union. The two sides will meet Thursday to start hammering things out.