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December 27, 2014

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Teachers union: Despite layoffs, no deals on salary or benefit cuts

Monday at the Legislature

Nevada Assembly Democrats, from left, Speaker John Oceguera, Debbie Smith, Marilyn Kirkpatrick and Marcus Conklin, talk on the Assembly floor Monday, June 6, 2011, at the Legislature in Carson City. Launch slideshow »

CARSON CITY - The Clark County teachers union said Monday it won’t agree to salary and benefit concessions even if it means teachers are laid off due to state budget cuts.

The budget passed by the Nevada Legislature and likely to be signed by Gov. Brian Sandoval calls for teachers to take a 7.5 percent pay cut. Under that scenario, Clark County School District officials said they could limit layoffs to a few hundred employees.

But if the Clark County Education Association and other employee unions don’t agree to concessions, it will lead to more teacher layoffs and larger class sizes than Sandoval and Democrats advertised.

The tension over the budget and upcoming employee union talks highlights this fact: Even though the budget numbers became final when the session ended at 1 a.m. Tuesday, the full impact of the budget passed by the Legislature won't be known for months.

Ruben Murillo, president of the Clark County Education Association, said teachers have been asked to sacrifice over the past three years and face even more difficult working conditions.

"Our members would rather us protect salaries and benefits, even if it might mean layoffs," said Murillo, who was at the Legislature Monday. "We hope the parents are behind the teachers."

He said the union is about to go into "full bore" contract negotiations with the Clark County School District.

Much of the Legislature has focused on the budget.

The governor, Democrats and most Republican lawmakers agreed to a deal that extended taxes passed in 2009.

Republicans, including Sandoval, said further cuts would be untenable. Democrats said extending about $620 million in taxes was the best they could do to mitigate the economy’s toll on state spending.

But how those decisions will affect everything from higher education to K-12 schools is murky at best.

While contracts still have to be negotiated in school districts, the Board of Regents will have to decide the higher education tuition and cuts.

Chancellor Dan Klaich has said that for college and university students the cuts would mean a 13 percent tuition increase, some layoffs of staff and a pay cut. But the final decisions rest with the elected Board of Regents.

For the school districts, the budget can recommend pay cuts for teachers, administrators and other school district employees, and reduce funding accordingly. But ultimately the effect on those involved depends on union negotiations and whether employees make concessions or not.

The budget approved by lawmakers has a 2.5 percent cut for school district personnel. It also figures higher pension payments by employees equal to about a 5 percent salary reduction.

But Murillo said, "at this point, we're not agreeing to any cuts. We want to see where money falls."

He said Clark County teachers have had no layoffs yet, but agreed last year to suspend some scheduled pay increases.

"Teachers have been sharing sacrifice with increased classes, less money for textbooks and materials, which meant more money out of their pockets," he said. "Teachers' working conditions are students' learning conditions."

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  1. Like teachers are the only ones sacrificing! 140,000 Nevadans have had their hours reduced or lost their jobs and the teachers union cries crocodile tears for its members? Are teachers really that greedy that they would rather not give a bit so more of their fellow teachers can remain on the job? "It's all about the students," they bleat! But when push comes to shove, the truth spills out! It's all about me, me, me and the hell with you!

  2. The mortgage industry, real estate, banking, and insurance companies destroy the economy with casino games, creative financial contracts without backing and credit default swaps without liquidity, and the answer is make the teachers pay. No wonder this Country is flopping.

    Billions for foreign aid to dictators but no money for education? B.S. The 140,000 Nevadans that have had their hours reduced or have been laid off, should go to the bank presidents and ask for stimulus funds that didn't come from the Government.

    Then let me know how you make out.

  3. The union is speaking for people that they have not taken a vote from at this point.

    Don't blame the teachers for what the Union is saying.

    They should put it to a vote of their members before opening their mouths and making them all look bad.

  4. Citizens need to look at the way Nevada has GROWN in the last 20 years, and how, the school district and State agencies have responded to that growth. That is a huge part of the economic problem.

    At the time, there were inexperienced people in office, making decisions about the FUTURE, which is now our PRESENT. They had no roadmap of past experiences here in Nevada to draw upon, so they winged it, did what they could with their limited experience and understanding. There's your trouble.

    Well meaning, but not having a well thought out plan, only a BIG GAMBLE (welcome to Nevada, folks!) these policy-makers faced the monumental need of hiring 1,000 or more teachers well after the typical hiring time of Spring, into the Summer months, pleading and begging for teachers due to a "shortage." Remember those days and years?

    When the economy went bust, and the President handed over Stimulus MONEY some 2+years ago, the district, hired more teachers, knowing well that they took the chance of not being able to keep them unless the money came again to fund those positions. They took the chance, more money NEVER CAME=bust. This is NOT a UNION thing, or a TEACHER being greedy thing, it is a ADMINISTRATIVE/MANAGEMENT thing, decision, or risk!

    Okay, it's time to tighten our belts, again, and as usual, the teachers will do their share. YOU need to understand some of the background of the administrative practices that are far out of the control of the union and the teachers.

    Even with reduced compensation, teachers will continue to shell out of their own pockets to care for the needs of their classes, because the quality of education also reflects upon them. They want the best possible for their students, and will write grants, look for sponsors, beg for freebies, whatever it takes, because it is about their students. Some of those who comment need to visit a classroom or two, and see reality. You would be talking much differently, less critical of teachers. Thank you.

    This 76th Nevada Legislative Session clearly followed the $$money$$ contribution of special interests, and despite masses of Nevadans coming out to make their voices heard, as the ol' saying goes, "money talks!" and "kick the can down the political road," is alive and well in our LAWMAKERS, as demonstrated this session. Nevada is no longer a silver state, it is in a state of mourning. Sad.

  5. When I read a post like the one ralph1946 posted I thank a teacher for getting me to read a book called the Propaganda Techniques of the German Fascist.

  6. Blame the union not the teachers. I don't think the teachers have control of their own union anymore.

  7. The MGM and Las Vegas Sands and many other Casinos are building Empires of the same in the Far East. The Gamblers that once flew here will stay in the East and local casino profits will and have been tumbling. Tax revenues will continue to dry up.

    And another fact:
    Canadian bank failures 2007-2010: 2
    American bank failures 2008-2010: 322

    Canada has Government Regulation of their financial system, America does not. The lack of regulation that now exists in the American financial world will take it down again. It will not be the teachers that cause this or the coming depressions already in the pipelines.

  8. Good job Ruben. Enough is enough! They wouldnt try this with Police Officers.

  9. keystone6...
    Great take.
    And, unfortunately all too true.

    CCSD is such a HUGE bureaucracy, that TONS of money goes this way & that way but fails to reach teachers and their students.

    There is no sense in arguing here with the Teacher Haters... it's wasted breath. It should be obvious to anyone who cares, or has half a brain, that the state in general, and CCSD in particular, is failing to properly support it's main asset: the TEACHERS...the very same ones that they recruited to come here from 'round the world... begged and pleaded and promised the MOON to anyone who was willing, during those peak boom years, to "come to the desert and live the good life!"

    Now, times are tough, and NOT ONE SINGLE ENTITY in the state of Nevada has come to the aid of the teaching professionals, who work for very average wages in what has become a very untenable environment for plying their chosen trade.

    Do more, make less, solve the world's problems, raise my kids, and hey...by the way, we feel that "you people" aren't worth protecting one lick in these recessionary times; in fact, we are cutting your pay, increasing your insurance premiums and reducing your retirement benefit. Meantime, get your nose to the grindstone and get those test scores up, ha? What is WITH "you people"?

  10. I have said this before, no amount of funding is adequate if it is not spent properly.

    Given how large CCSD is I would not be surprised at all to find out that there is a 10% - 15% waste factor in spending. Granted, it is impossible to eliminate all waste, but surely it can be cut in half.

    Beyond that, I say start each year with zero-based budgets and fund basic supplies (i.e. books) first, then look at teacher pay scales, and only then look at administration and support staff requirements.

    The object of the exercise is to give children an education! Keep that first and foremost when deciding how to spend a very limited amount of money.

    As an aside, everyone pretty much knows I am no friend of public unions. But in this case, it really does seem that the teachers union exists to take care of the administrative staff, and teachers be damned.

  11. If they think living on 92.5% of their pay is tough, wait until the layoffs, and trying to live on zero percent. Times are tough. I've already taken my huge pay cut after a layoff (my salary was similar to what a teacher makes). It's hard to feel sorry for someone crying over a 7.5% cut when my salary is half of what it was in 2006, and I'm surviving.

  12. Bakersfield:
    So what you're saying is: Suzzie was wined and dined, promised the good life, and made to sign a contract. The wining and dining and the good life stopped and Suzzie was kicked to the curb.

    You want Suzzie to stay in the curb, cry and accept her fate because there are others on the curb before her?

    If you were Suzzie with a contract in your hands, wouldn't you sue the pants off the charlatan? Would you kick Suzzie while she's down there?
    If you were Suzzie, would you appreciate us kicking you?

    Just asking.

  13. Boling and Homeboy:

    What you do not understand is: I am not asking for your money. YOU DO NOT HAVE ANY! You are in the curb the same way we are. If they tax us, we get to pay the same taxes you do. They are cutting our salary and we are not exactly filthy rich. We, too are getting by.

    You keep calling us names, calling us greedy. That is why I am a sad teacher. Teachers obviously failed because too many people are ignorant and have not learned any manners. In school, we teach children not to call others names.

    If you read my post again, I was trying to put you in our shoes, but you interpret things the way you want so you have an excuse to call us names.

    Thank you for you kindness.

  14. Shannon, et al

    Please ignore roseannrose already. She is ignorant and does not know what she is talking about. She does not deserve the few minutes you waste asking or answering her.

    In the length of time I have been making comments here, NOT ONE agreed with her, and if there was, it's probably someone who is ignorant just like her. She's irrelevant.