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October 22, 2014

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School District approves contract with administrators

Negotiations continue between School District, teachers union

KSNV coverage of ongoing contract negotiations between the Clark County School District and the teachers union, Aug. 25, 2011.

The Clark County School District unanimously approved a final contract Thursday night with its administrators union, a move that would save the district about $1.9 million.

To help plug a $150 million budget hole, the School District began seeking concessions earlier this year from its unions representing administrators, support staff and teachers. The district entered into formal contract negotiations with the Clark County Association of School Administrators and Professional-Technical Employees about four months ago.

Under the two-year contract, the School District would freeze step increases, cut two personal leave days, pass along half of a Public Employees’ Retirement System rate increase and continue a 1.5 percent salary reduction from the last school year that was to be restored.

In exchange for the union concessions, the School District would maintain health benefits and eliminate seniority as the only basis in making layoffs. If the School District must implement a “reduction-in-force,” administrators with two unsatisfactory evaluations, suspensions for five days or more or abused sick leave would be laid off before senior members.

The union unanimously approved the contract at its Aug. 17 meeting. The School Board formally ratified it Thursday night.

“In the midst of the financial cuts the School District was having to make, I think we’ve got a contract that’s a win-win for everybody,” said CCASAPE President Stephen Augspurger. “There were some things we negotiated that we think is going to make the system better for kids and employees. We’re quite happy with what was done.”

The administrators’ contract approval comes about two weeks after the district’s negotiations with its teachers union broke down. The Clark County Education Association declared an impasse Aug. 10 after it couldn’t broker a contract agreement with the School District during its four scheduled meetings.

The matter will now head to arbitration, where a judge decides the outcome of contract negotiations. The district has warned that if concessions cannot be reached, at least 500 teacher positions may be eliminated. The teachers union and the district are choosing a judge and scheduling arbitration dates.

“It’s funny; in the past we’ve been able to work these things out,” Clark County Education Association President Ruben Murillo said. “We’ve had collaborative negotiations, and this year they’re not. In 2001 was the last time we went to arbitration.”

About 30 teachers union members dressed in red T-shirts stood behind Murillo on Thursday as he addressed the School Board, protesting what he feels are the district’s “anti-teacher” concessions. A number of teachers also spoke out about the stalled contract negotiations.

Teachers are some of the most disrespected people, said Rancho High School special education teacher John Collins, who garnered applause from the audience.

“There’s no thrill like the thrill when a kid gets it,” he said. “You love it, and that’s why you do it. But you don’t take a vow of poverty. You have obligations — kids, family and grandkids. You’re also supplying the things the school used to supply to take into the classroom.”

While the School District has finished formal contract negotiations with two of its unions, it is still bargaining with its support staff union — made up of custodians, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, librarians and IT personnel.

The group will have its fifth meeting in mid-September. Union leaders said they were hopeful for a resolution but are disappointed with the negotiations so far.

“Support staff and teachers are really the backbone of the School District,” said Education Support Employees Association President John Carr. “They’re the ones that make sure the kids get to school safe, the food in the cafeteria is hot or cold, the kids in the playground don’t get hurt. Yet we’re the ones you’re balancing the budget on. I don’t get it.”

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  1. Administrators make at the start, upwards from $70,000 while teachers start at $33,000. That is almost a $40,000 difference. The 'concessions' of 1.5% salary deduction is peanuts for them while for teachers it means inability to pay mortgage, if they still have their homes, and their other financial responsibilities.

    Decades ago, teachers didn't mind the low income as much because they had a spouse who mainly supported the family. Nowadays however, many teachers are single, supporting families, paying student and other loans, car payments, and credit cards which are maxed out from buying classroom and other neccesities. A few teachers I know survived on their credit cards from graduation until their first paycheck came in October.

    Many new teachers rent apartments/houses with two or three other teachers and carpool just to be able to 'make' it. Cutting their salaries is inhumane.

  2. Dwight D. Jones is provided a luxury car, a housing stipend, travel pay and a school district credit card, all in addition to his nearly half a million dollars annual compensation and school district provided healthcare.

    Pedro Martinez was given almost as much money to move from Reno to Las Vegas as a first year teacher makes after taxes. He is an accountant with no teaching experience who was named "deputy superintendant for instruction."

    CCSD bought administrators more than a million dollars worth of iPads while classroom teachers are forced to purchase basic supplies like paper, pencils and markers out of pocket. The elementary school principal at my local building still hasn't taken his out of the box.

    CCSD PD officers purchased tens of thousands of dollars in "equipment" including assault weapons they don't take on patrol, ammo for those weapons, dress uniforms, and shiny new badges, all while their dispatchers are hosting binge drinking parties for students and CCSD cops in attendance play beer pong with underage students from the schools they are supposed to "police."

    All of this waste, and CCSD continues to threaten teachers, the people who actually do the intended work of the schools, with layoffs, pay cuts, healthcare cuts.

    Teachers: Do not give a single concession to this horribly wasteful school district. Until the CCSDPD is completely eliminated, until at least half of the central office is eliminated, until Dwight Jones and Pedro Martinez take at least a 33% pay cut each, until the school district actually begins to provide the basic supplies necessary to teach the students, DO NOT CONCEDE A THING.

  3. Yeah! Screw the kids! Don't concede a thing because of the waste/abuse/corruption having to do with another screwed up union/entity. Don't worry about the innocent kids. Let's all play games at their expense. </sarcasm>

    Just because something else is screwed up, doesn't give anyone the right to add to the mess. That's how we ended up with one of the most dysfunctional, and most underperforming, districts in the country.

  4. Sorry teachers, that was a bit too emotional of a post. I just got angry when I read the previous comment. It sounded like the beginning of negotiations snowballing out of control. I just don't want that to happen. Believe me, the community is on your side when it comes to administrative waste in the district, and I HOPE that will be reflected in the next school board elections. I think you'll lose community support if you try to play the same game.

    I very much value you and the work that you do, I just don't want these adult games to have negative consequences for the students.

  5. Negotiations have already spun out of control, thanks to the CCSD administration's decisions to yet again try to leverage concessions from teachers with threats.

    Year after year after year CCSD says to the teachers "give up pay and benefits or we'll just get rid of a few hundred of you guys and then blame you for the impact on students."

    That's a terrible, divisive and unproductive way to do business, and the teachers need to stop allowing the district to do it each and every time the contract comes up. Enough is enough.