Las Vegas Sun

September 18, 2014

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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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  1. I would say they are hiring about 419 clerical, support and other admin positions too many.

  2. No, hiring the unemployed is not a sin. Hiring admin positions while parents have to buy glue, scissors and crayons so the schools have basic supplies is. Hiring admin positions when schools are cutting music classes and sports programs for lack of equipment is. Hiring admin positions when schools can't afford microscopes or drafting tables is!

  3. You surrender your old DL in the new state. That state returns the old licenses, or at least reports the ones surrendered to the issuing state.

  4. BBallFan,

    I am not unsympathetic to your position, but as a parent (of too many) with two children still in school (4th and 6th grades, one of which is deaf) I have a very had time accepting the need for more admin staff when I am asked to buy such basic supplies as glue and crayons for use in the classroom.

    Maybe I was spoiled when I was in school. I recall that the school supplied all the paper and pencils and other such stuff when I was in grade school. Today, I have to supply all of those things for my child.

    I can understand the need for books, desks, microscopes, TV's, computers, but NOT admin staff to help my children learn.

    As for teachers such as yourself, I want to have some means to know that you are doing your job and hold you accountable if you are not, just as my employer would do with me.

    By the way, I have a small nit to pick. Teachers often say that they want more parent involvement. I understand this and agree it is needed. That said, why do schools schedule an open house for 5PM?!? How many parents do you think are off work in time to go to that? I recall those being schedules at 7PM when I was a child so both parents could easily attend.

  5. I have no doubt what I would see if I were to walk around any schoolyard. I'd see all the things I did and a bit more. And I assure you my teachers never knew everything that happened though I have no doubt now that they suspected it. :)

    Safety is a big consideration, no one should argue that.

  6. I'll grant that school conditions today are vastly different than what I experienced as a student. (I entered kindergarten in 1958.) I spent all but one year in the Los Angeles school district.

    Looking at the differences that I can see, I'd think that some sort of classroom score could be assigned based on class size, student family situation, relative income, native language and parent involvement (based upon phone or in-person conference participation). These factors could be weighted, along with test scores, to give some idea of how effective a teacher is.

    I wouldn't expect a teacher with a difficult classroom environment to have the same number of outstanding students as a teacher with what should be an ideal classroom. I certainly noticed a difference in how teachers handled students as I progressed through school.

    One thing I do recall though, almost all my teachers identified those students who made a real effort and who could reach maximum potential with extra attention and gave it to them in some way. And it didn't matter if maximum potential was a "C" or an "A+".

    I think we could come up with some kind of performance standard if the relevant factors were accounted for. But I also think we need to drop the concept of "social promotion" and hold students accountable as well to make it work.

  7. The very real threat of being held back for a year or more was a strong motivator back in the day. No one wanted that stigma. Did it damage some kids? Probably, but I would love to see a study on how many kids that were held back wound up in jail versus how many "social promotions" wind up in jail. I'd be willing to bet that the latter outnumber the former on a percentage basis.

  8. You gotta love the bumper sticker: "My public school brat can beat the crap out of your private school snob"

    It's not the "couple of bucks" we spend on some supplies, but the idea behind it. Every dollar that goes to administration/clerical staff (especially raises) is one less dollar that is spent on supplies and equipment that directly benefit the students.

    All too often it feels like school districts in general, and CCSD in particular, put their desires ahead of the needs of the students.