Las Vegas Sun

October 25, 2014

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LOOKING IN ON: EDUCATION:

Hundreds of support staff to learn of layoffs this week

Nearly 600 letters will be mailed Monday to Clark County School District support employees, notifying them that their jobs will be eliminated for the 2009-10 academic year.

Similar notifications will go to administrators on May 15, and teachers will get the bad news in letters to be mailed May 30, district officials told the Sun.

District officials said Friday that 574 of the district’s 12,000 support staff will be getting letters notifying them of layoffs.

Teachers and administrators are still being shuffled, and district officials say it’s too soon to estimate how many letters will go out in the next two rounds of notifications.

Employees with the most seniority have the best chance of landing another position in the district.

The uncertainty has become agonizing, said Belinda “Bo” Yealy, president of the Clark County Support Employees Association, which represents the district’s custodians, instructional aides, school bus drivers, office personnel and food service workers, among others.

The association has wanted support employees to be notified as quickly as possible of potential layoffs, but more important, the information needs to be accurate, Yealy said.

She didn’t know the number of letters the district was planning to mail, adding, “Their playbook hasn’t exactly been open to us.”

Gov. Jim Gibbons signed Assembly Bill 541 into law last week, granting a two-week extension to the statutory deadline for school districts to notify people that they would not be rehired.

The support staff cuts are going to hurt schools, Yealy said. In addition to the support employees being notified, the district plans to leave about 250 vacancies unfilled.

“The kids are going to be suffering from this, and the families of our employees are going to suffer,” Yealy said. “It’s very sad.”

•••

Put another feather in the cap of Green Valley High School’s marching band.

The Henderson student musicians have been chosen for the 2010 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The announcement — which came as a surprise to the students — was made Wednesday evening during the band’s concert at the Henderson Pavilion amphitheater.

The Macy’s parade organizers notify bands 18 months before the event so schools have ample time to raise money, said Diane Koutsulis, who along with Cecil Myers serves as Green Valley’s band director.

The advance notice is particularly welcome after the students’ mad scramble in December to raise $120,000 in five weeks to participate in the presidential inauguration.

If there’s a downside to the delay, it might be for the juniors currently in the band and drill team, Koutsulis said. They will participate in fundraising efforts next year, but won’t get to make the trip to New York. Most of this year’s senior band members have been to Scotland, Rome, London and Paris.

Even with the host of honors the band has racked up in recent years, the Macy’s parade wasn’t a sure thing, Koutsulis said. Green Valley will be the first Southern Nevada high school to participate.

•••

For even an experienced teacher, being moved from the third grade to the fifth grade would be a challenge.

First-year teacher Renee Duplessie had it happen after just one month on the job at Detwiler Elementary.

Duplessie’s successful adjustment, and the positive effect she’s had on her students, have earned her the title of Clark County’s New Teacher of the Year in the intermediate elementary category.

The Clark County School Board recognized her and four other first-year teachers, who were nominated by their principals. Diane Babb, a Clark County School District graduate, was the honoree in the middle school category. Babb, who earned a Millennium Scholarship to UNLV, teaches math at Bailey Middle School; Cantel McCurdy, in the elementary-primary category, is also a product of the district.

McCurdy, who teaches first grade at Sunrise Acres Elementary, graduated from Chaparral High School in 1992 and attended College of Southern Nevada and UNLV.

Earning honors in the high school category was Duane Graham. A native of Oregon, Graham teaches U.S. history and law at Basic High School.

In the special education category, the new teacher of the year is Rebecca Alleman of Brinley Middle School. Alleman, who earned a degree from Stanford University, is a member of the Teach for America corps, which trains college graduates to work in at-risk schools.

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