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January 27, 2015

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Now this is a labor dispute: Clark County School District vs. its teachers

In the face of huge budget cuts, every employee union but one in the Clark County School District agreed to a salary freeze. Teachers aren’t budging.


Steve Marcus

John Vellardita, executive director of the Clark County Education Association, poses in the association offices Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012.

Teachers Protest Layoffs

Debra Cooley, a kindergarten teacher at Steele Elementary School, holds up a sign before a Clark County School Board meeting at the Edward Greer Education Center on East Flamingo Road Wednesday, May 16, 2012. The board approved a final budget that will lay off 1,015 positions in order to balance the budget. Launch slideshow »

Sun coverage

Like all government entities in Nevada, the Clark County School District was forced to make tough decisions in the wake of the recession.

As the housing market tanked and property values fell, so too did the district’s tax revenue. At one point, the nation’s fifth-largest school district faced a record $400 million deficit – the budget of some medium-sized corporations.

In response to declining state funds, the School District has slashed more than $500 million from its operating budget since 2007. The most recent cuts resulted in some staff reductions as well as cutbacks in school supplies and bus transportation.

Last year, the School District said it could cut no more.

Instead of decimating more programs and services, the School District sought major concessions from its four unions representing administrators, police, support staff and teachers.

Employees – more than 36,000-strong – were asked to pay more into their pensions and accept a salary freeze. Despite some pushback, the administrators, police and support staff unions all made concessions.

The teachers union did not.

Thus began one of the most contentious labor disputes in Nevada, one that pits the state’s largest public employer against the state’s largest public union.

The contract battle – waged primarily in backroom negotiations – spilled out into the public. District officials traded barbs with union leaders in the media and filed suit against each other over allegations of bad-faith bargaining.

District emails pointed to an outside campaign that urged teachers to leave the union. Union members picketed outside the district’s administration building and packed School Board meetings to deride what they saw as an anti-union fervor sweeping the nation.

After an arbitrator ruled the district had the money to grant pay raises to teachers, the cash-strapped district followed through on its warnings and laid off 1,015 teachers, raising class sizes by three students.

Simmering tensions between the district and union exploded at the following School Board meeting on May 16 as union members flooded the public forum in protest.

Unruly members heckled speakers who crossed them and cheered on those who aired their grievances. School Board President Linda Young – visibly angry – shouted over the din, trying in vain to call the meeting back to order.

After one too many disruptions, the School Board walked out of the room. The sea of red T-shirts followed suit, chanting “We’ll remember in November.”

That level of discord is likely only to intensify this year as the district and union continue their latest round of contract negotiations – this time amid an election season and legislative year. The fate of Nevada’s low-performing education system – its funding and reforms – hinges on the successful resolution of the state’s biggest labor dispute.

The Clark County School District and Clark County Education Association didn’t always fight.

During the boom years, Las Vegas was awash with money. The district built new schools and hired thousands of new teachers, enticed to the desert with generous incentives and wages. Disagreements were resolved quickly, sometimes with a simple phone call, said John Vellardita, the union’s executive director and chief negotiator.

“We had a relatively good relationship with the School District,” said Vellardita, a 37-year veteran negotiator. “But when the economy tanked and there was a change of guard at the district level, disputes became much more difficult to resolve and the relationship evolved into more of a contentious one.”

Click to enlarge photo

Eddie Goldman is the Clark County School District's chief negotiator and a 32-year veteran educator.

Eddie Goldman, the district’s chief negotiator and 32-year veteran educator, echoed Vellardita’s comments.

“There were always disagreements,” he said. “But there was a give and take.”

Despite the public haranguing on both sides, negotiations are professional and cordial, Goldman and Vellardita said. Although there are no screaming matches, the mood in negotiation meetings is often tense and definitely “not warm,” Goldman said.

There are usually four members in the district’s negotiations team and about 10 members in the union’s negotiation team that meet, often in the conference rooms at either the School District’s Vegas PBS building or the union’s nonprofit Teachers Health Trust headquarters. These negotiation sessions can last anywhere from 10 minutes to upwards of four hours.

Unlike some states, public employees cannot strike in Nevada. However, Nevada law allows either side – the public employer or the public employee union – to declare impasse in negotiations after four meetings and move the contract debate into binding arbitration.

Teachers have gone without a cost-of-living increase since the recession began and were forced legally to pay more into their pensions, Vellardita said. That’s why the union fought back when the School District proposed teachers accept a one-year freeze on salary step and education increases, he said.

Although Vellardita says he understand the district’s financial bind, he remains adamant the district has money for teacher raises defined under their current 64-page contract. Those pay raises – based on how long a teacher stays in a district and how much education they have – reflect the district’s value of recruiting and retaining teachers, Vellardita said.

“What the School District is doing by tampering with (the salary schedule), they are preventing its ability to be competitive in the marketplace to recruit teachers at the level they need,” he said. “This is a strategic mistake of the district and the superintendent. They’re shooting themselves in the foot.”

But the School District can’t close a $64 million budget deficit without teacher concessions, Goldman said. Contrary to what the union says, there’s no money for teacher pay raises, and that’s why contract negotiations are necessary, he said.

“Unfortunately, we can’t make our own money,” Goldman said. “We have to focus on academic achievement and live within our means.”

If the lack of money is the cause of this disagreement, the School District should be lobbying the state for more education funding, Vellardita said. The Nevada State Education Association, the umbrella union of CCEA, is working on a tax initiative and plans to lobby the state for more K-12 funding, he said.

Funding is a problem, but the School District is concerned about its current “return on investment,” Goldman said. Before asking for more state funding, the district is interested in making sure the money it currently spends is going to the right areas, he said.

“We want to be sure every dime and penny is being used to raise student achievement,” he said. “We want to be smart with the money we’re using.”

Instead of just raising more money, the School District is looking at new education “reforms,” that include teacher evaluation and pay-for-performance systems, said district spokeswoman Amanda Fulkerson.

Although the bulk of contract negotiations have focused on wages, these “reform” proposals will require discussions with the union, she said. Without consensus on salaries, education reforms such as a longer school day or “school turnarounds” won’t come to fruition.

“When our labor unions can’t negotiate with us in good faith, our kids suffer,” she said.

Vellardita said the union was not opposed to reforms. Teachers just want a voice at the table, and the union will continue to advocate on their behalf, he said.

“When we’re talking about education reforms in Carson City, teachers need to be at the table,” he said. “Teachers are the frontline educators and their voices will be heard.”

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  1. "When our labor unions can't negotiate with us in good faith, our kids suffer,"...

    What a load of CRAP.
    From either side of the aisle, in this dispute or any other, let's leave 'our kids' out of it, because saying 'oh, it's for the CHILDREN!" is a disingenuous play for sympathy.
    Teachers do PUH-LENTY 'for the children', above & beyond what any REASONABLE PERSON could possibly expect them to do, whether it be contractually, professionally or personally, but I doubt they enter into negotiations by saying, 'PLEASE! We need MORE, but it's FOR THE CHILDREN!" (though certainly a case could be made for such).
    If, in fact, it's 'for the CHILDREN!', perhaps CCSD ought to put a LOT MORE FANNIES into the classroom as teachers rather than spending a TON OF DOUGH on 'specialists', 'advisers', 'administrators' or a myriad of other district gigs that pay salaries IN EXCESS of what a classroom teacher makes.
    As is usually the case in a HUMONGOUS bureaucracy like CCSD, there is a TON of spending that has little to do with adequate classroom presence, and it's much more a matter of BUDGETARY ALLOCATION than penury.

    On Labor Day weekend, let's dispense with the SILLY NOTION that 'public employees ought not have (the right to) representation' in the workplace, nor the right to collectively bargain for wages, benefits or working conditions.
    The SILLY NOTION that 'public employees ought to take what we give em' & be darn thankful for it!' is abject foolishness, and in and of itself indicative of WHY public employees need & deserve to be represented, as any other American worker does, in their workplace.

    Happy Labor Day to ALL working Americans!

  2. I think hell will freeze over first before Republicans (voters or representatives) will vote for a tax increase.

    The only way a tax increase will pass if there is significant REAL government union reform.

  3. Allow school choice. Give every parent the right to attend any school of their choice and let the education dollars follow the student.

    You would get competition and innovation. Some new school models would fail. Some will flourish. The worst will improve or disappear. Choice is the mantra of the left when a child is a fetus but choice is an evil word once your fetus turns 6 years old.

  4. It is truly sad that the writer of this article continues to engage in sensationalistic journalism instead of reporting the facts. Only about 430 teachers received a reduction in force notice, not 1015. They have all been rehired along with over 300 new teachers and CCSD is still hiring. About 900 teachers voluntarily left the district due to retirements, relocation or because they were just plain sick of being treated so badly by the district and public. I'm tired of reporters in this town drinking the Dwight Jones/Amanda Fulkerson koolaid. I'm especially tired of Ms. Fulkerson bashing "greedy teachers" when she was hired by a " broke" school district for $130,000 last year. How can she possibly be worth so much more than teachers and most administrators? Maybe that's just what it costs lately to buy someone soul less enough to tell the blatant lies and garbage that she spews.

  5. Neiman1. School choice is not about the children. It is about privatizing education and making profits for charter corporations, Profits will come first and children will come second. I don't want that for my child.

  6. Comment removed by moderator. Personal Attack

  7. Did I just read that the CCSD wants a longer school day? Really? I suppose they think teachers should do that for free, too.

  8. One of the smartest things I've ever hear a public employee ever say:

    Funding is a problem, but the School District is concerned about its current "return on investment," Goldman said. Before asking for more state funding, the district is interested in making sure the money it currently spends is going to the right areas, he said.

    "We want to be sure every dime and penny is being used to raise student achievement," he said. "We want to be smart with the money we're using."

  9. Get rid of the union and get rid of their scam called the Teachers Health Trust.

  10. Unions unwilling to make what's new? I'm glad I sent my kids to private schools. We cut expenses and changed our lifestyle to be able to afford doing that, but I'd rather do that than line the pockets of these union teachers and get a subpar education in return.

  11. In different articles in this paper and others in the past week, I have seen various numbers for CCSD employees that range from 36,000 to 38,000. There are approximately 17,000 teachers and 11,000 support employees. There are also 300 CCSD police officers, and I can account for 3,200 people in the CCSD Administrative and School phone books. The total of those numbers is 31,500. Even using 36,000, that leaves 4,500 people unaccounted for. Where do those people work, how much are they paid, and how do they help students learn?

  12. This teacher resents anyone and any article that suggests I have not given up "anything" or made a concession.


    12% was nothing?

    My working conditions are nothing?

    More work, more hours, less pay, and a public relations campaign that teaches everyone all around me that I am on the government dole and not worth the money? That is nothing?

    Slap in the face? Yes. I sat in the summer meeting when administrators graciously "gave up" 2%. I will tell you right now - I will take that deal any day of the week. Take 2% - and then publish articles about my "generous" concession. Take note: the arbitrator found the 17% the district refused to negotiate from, was unnecessary right?

    Slap in the face? Yes. I sat in the summer meeting when the support staff were ROBBED of their health insurance to prevent a continuation of layoffs and rehires as temporary support staff employees. Their pay will "revert" to 2011 amounts if they aren't allowed to renegotiate. Will the paper then publish articles of that robbery?

    Slap in the face? Yes. I am in my classroom with weeping teachers who are now the sole financial support in their families because husbands cannot find employment. I listen as they tell of losing their homes. I listen as they speak of being written up for this or that petty infraction - because Democrats who the union gave support and money to - threw us under the bus in the name of reform.

    We are NOT paying? I would suggest to you this war on women - and most teachers are women - and children . . . has to STOP and it has to STOP now.

    The district did not play fair with teachers. It is hiding, hoarding, and stashing money. It cries wolf, delivers pink slips, and looks for reasons to fire good teachers because of seniority.

    This is pure and simple - UNIONBUSTING!

  13. The district representative says, "We want to be sure every dime and penny is being used to raise student achievement," he said. "We want to be smart with the money we're using."

    Here's how they spend the money: last year, every single classroom at my school was equipped with ceiling surround sound and two microphones per teacher. At least half were stripped of overhead screens and projectors in perfect working order and replaced with SmartBoards. I wonder who personally benefitted from such huge purchase contracts with these vendors.

  14. CUT SOME MORE: Where are the COLA adjustments, negative COLA's because our cost of living has declines? Housing is about half the cost of a few years ago. School teachers are on 7-hour 184 day contracts, 2/3 time compared to full time employees yet the teachers average $74K in compensation with benefits. We CANNOT SUPPORT THAT LEVEL. And, we cannot support so many teachers and SD employees, an employee for every 8 kids. Nevada has the highest rate of illegal employees (per AP and LV Sun) and thus we have the HIGHEST RATE OF ILLEGAL STUDENTS. Our politicians keep saying we don't have an illegal problem BUT WE DO.

  15. "If the lack of money is the cause of this disagreement, the School District should be lobbying the state for more education funding, Vellardita said."

    That's the unions answer to everything...just stick it to the taxpayer....those days are over you union chumps.


  16. The USA, 1st the world in per pupil funding....20th (or worse) in academic performance.

    Explain that disparity unions and teachers....

    Close THAT gap and maybe the talk can go back to increasing wages.

  17. Roberta,

    No teacher works just a 7-hour day. If they did they aren't doing their job correctly. There is lesson planning, grading papers, meetings, extra-curricular activities and much more. If every teacher did just a 7-hour day nothing would get done. A parent would not get a phone call updating them on their child, and much more.

    To answer your other remarks. Federal law mandates a ratio of teachers to special education kids. If this is not follow the state loses money.

    Also, about your claims about illegals and education. It is mandated by Plyer vs Doe that we educate all students no matter of status.

  18. The contracts for the Teachers, the Support Personnel, and the Administrators are posted on their union web sites. The police union contract is posted, but requires a log in to view.

    This is the link the support employees contract.

    This is a link to the CCEA contract.

    This is the link to the Administrators contract.

  19. Mr. Vellardita is just doing his job a a negotiator and needs to justify his massive salary that the teacher's union is paying. Any reasonable teacher understands that the economy is in the toilet and that getting a regular paycheck, benefits and a pension is a pretty sweet deal these days.

  20. I moved here this summer, and had taught high school in Texas for 3 years. I teach a subject that requires additional professional training, and is in demand nationally. I could have become licensed in NV fairly easily, as they recognize my state's licensing exam. However, even after 3 years of teaching, being certified in English, Reading, and ESL, I would have taken a $10k pay cut to teach in Clark County. I loved teaching, but with student loans, I cannot afford to teach for less than what I was making in a relatively poor inner-city district of Texas. Yes, CC average pay may be comparable to other states, but the pay scale does not invest in recruitment and retention of experienced new teachers, let alone new graduates. Cutting the pay of the teachers you have is not going to improve the return on investment, it is going to hurt the district's ability to recruit and retain good teachers. Statistically speaking, most people leave teaching after 3 years, because they can find work at comparable pay that doesnt require 70 hour work weeks and the stress of the classroom environment where teachers arent supported. TFA is only a band-aid, since most of their folks leave after 2-3 years, so where's the return on investment there? Nevada could do a lot better-- if you want to improve outcomes for kids, you have to invest more in education, not less. I don't teach math, but that seems like a basic calculation to me.

  21. My child attends a CCSD high school and has mentioned several times that some of her classes have over 60 students. Let's talk about what's good for the kids. Does the superintendent need to make $400k/year? I don't think so. How about the governor who redirected a $60 million bond measure (that was sold to voters as going specifically for education)into the general fund instead? The fact is that we live in a red state and as such, public education is nothing but a nuisance. I challenge anyone who thinks teachers don't make enough to spend six hours each day teaching classes of 60 + high school students and see what you think of the salary. Teachers are having to take on two or three jobs just to make ends meet. How do they fit in prep time for classes? Let's also remember that there are 5,000 homeless children in the CCSD. Not everyone has the luxury of sending their children to public school and not every child has parents or even a home. When did our country completely abandon the idea of taking care of its citizens? What a disgusting shame.

  22. I'm curious to know if Dr. Goldman and Ms. Fulkerson made their comments with a straight face. Goldman states, "There were always disagreements, but there was a give and take." Those were the years Goldman was not the district's negotiator! Then he says the School District can't close a $64 million budget deficit without teacher concessions, but isn't that what he said last year, before an arbitrator found that the district did indeed have the money, and before 419 pink slips were issued, yet the district mysteriously found money to hire back all these teachers, and then over 300 more?

    Goldman seems to have let the cat out of the bag with regard to district's intention not to seek additional funding from the state. "Funding is a problem," he states, "but the School District is concerned about its current "return on investment." Before asking for more state funding, the district is interested in making sure the money it currently spends is going to the right areas." In other words, he apparently thinks we have all the funding we need. If he were truly concerned about money being spent in the right areas, we need to look no further than the example of Amanda Fulkerson's office to see where the district wastes some of its money. One has to wonder why the Communications Department needs 12 employees and an annual budget of $2 million, and we should be asking just what it is that her office does that affects what happens in the classroom.

    If the district wants to make sure it's being smart with the money it's using, someone needs to take a look at the waste and administrative bloat in the central office! There is layer upon layer of administration that by all accounts specializes in generating senseless work for others in an effort to justify their own jobs! Site administrators, drowning in reports they must submit, rarely have time to be real instructional leaders in their schools. Teachers, rather than spending time with students and planning for instruction, are swimming in bureaucratic nonsense.

    What neither Goldman nor Fulkerson understand is that when the school district pumps out a litany of lies, and can't negotiate with unions in good faith, everyone, including our kids suffers. They, along with the superintendent and the school board trustees, have created an environment in which real school reform is not likely to occur. They simply do not understand that it requires a genuine spirit of cooperation among all interested parties, not an adversarial environment, to bring about school reform that works!

  23. roselenda...

    is a former poster known here as 'the wrangler'!

  24. @ Angie Sullivan...

    Right on, sister.

    "This is pure and simple - UNIONBUSTING!"


  25. Comment removed by moderator. Inappropriate

  26. Mr. Goldman and friends should look in the mirror in regards to return on investment. When will he admit how much money the district has squandered on frivolous jobs and projects? As far as Unions protecting bad teachers that is a fallacy. Unions simply ask that teachers receive due process and that administrators follow the rules instead of just firing people they don't like. Behind every bad teacher is a bad administrator who is too lazy to do the job it takes to get rid of them. As far as the US being 1st in funding and 20th in achievement compared to other countries is like comparing apples and oranges. We have the highest poverty rate of any industrialized nation (25%). Perhaps when we begin to address underlying issues such as this, we can begin to achieve more. The "Rhee"form movement in this country is sickening and it is frightening how many people have fallen for it. It is all about making money for testing companies and charter school corporations and their fat cat cronies.That is the conversation that needs to happen. This issue is far greater than the local Union versus the school district. It is a shame for our children. I want my child to be an educated and critical thinker, not a pro test taker who can regurgitate answers to satisfy some false measurement of success. I fear for her future if education is continually pushed in this direction by ignorant politicians and their followers.

  27. I meant to say we have the highest childhood poverty rate.

  28. @Believer and @gmag39:

    In my capacity as education reporter for the Sun, I have never been and will never be Facebook "friends" with any of my sources, including Amanda Fulkerson. My policy on Facebook is to keep it personal. I resent any false accusations to the contrary and urge you to check your facts before making blanket statements.

    For full disclosure, I have Facebook "liked" the Clark County School District's Facebook page to follow press releases and announcements that are posted there. It is not an endorsement.

    As for my Twitter account -- @paul_takahashi -- I follow both CCSD officials, including Dwight Jones and Amanda Fulkerson, as well as many union officials, such as Ruben Murillo and Lisa Muntean. Twitter is an invaluable resource for journalists to communicate with sources as well as receive information, and as stated in my Twitter profile, any "follows" or "retweets" do not constitute an endorsement.

  29. Mr. Takahashi, I do apologize and I will correct myself. You are so popular that you have a Facebook page with subscribers and you "subscribe" to Ms. Fulkerson. I don't see a real difference, although I am glad to hear you subscribe to officials from both sides. I may also have mixed you up with your counterpart at the Review Journal Trevon Milliard who is in fact friends with Ms. Fulkerson. See, I checked my facts. Now when will you start checking yours? You have not addressed why you claim 1015 teachers were laid off when only a little over 400 were? "After an arbitrator ruled the district had the money to grant pay raises to teachers, the cash-strapped district followed through on its warnings and laid off 1,015 teachers, raising class sizes by three students. " And while I did appreciate that you called out the district for crying wolf a few weeks ago, I still feel the majority of your articles as well as the view of your employer is very one-sided.

  30. I'm sorry to see that Mr. Takahashi is being bashed here. As news reporting goes, I find his articles to be reasonably balanced, unlike those written by the so-called education reporter for the other Las Vegas newspaper who has zero respect for objectivity and honest reporting. Please give Paul Takahashi a break.

  31. Great article! It's a very complicated issue it sounds like. I think the argument gets oversimplified from both sides when trying to make their statements on the evening news. I think teachers should be paid well. I believe this District is filled with way to many "middle management" types and it's taken away from paying teachers fair.

  32. Paul Takahashi: Thank you for covering this. FINALLY some discussion about longer school days. We NEED this AND LONGER SCHOOL YEARS. And yes, for no "extra" money. K-12 teachers already average $74K for PART-TIME work, 7 hour days, 184 days instead of 8, 245. K-12 teachers need to accept a 10-15% pay cut AND longer hours--like full time, 2080 hours a year. Teach them to read by 4th grade even if it takes 245 days a year with 8 hour days. Unless we do, there is little chance the students will overcome every obstacle and succeed let alone excel in school, at life. We spend more than every other "civilized" nation (nix Switzerland's 3,000 students) and get such poor unacceptable results. H****, even Arizona gets graduates who can read and write for $1,000 less per student per year--and they have as many ELL's as CC does.

  33. Raised: There is NO MANDATE that we teach illegals if we ENFORCE OUR LAWS AND DEPORT THEM. We keep our heads in the sand and they've overrun and invaded all our programs. State and local politicians CAN and MUST take measures to expel illegal students and stop teacher campaigns to send groceries home with the illegals. Gee, you adopt their grandparents with amnesty a few years back. You encourage all extended relatives to invade. We pay for their health care, their housing, their food, their school, police protection, courts, their legal wonder we can't afford to pay teachers, firefighters, wonder we can't afford to feed our own kids.

  34. All of this is the primary reason that I will be voting NO in the election where the CCSD wants to raise property taxes. The CCSD wants to raise property taxes for maintenance, repairs, and building two new schools. The problem is, that money will never see the light of day when it comes to maintenance, repairs, or new schools. It will go to raises and teacher salaries. Why, you ask? Because all this will go to an Arbitrator that will rule that all this money is considered part of the general funds and must be used for raises etc. No money will be left for maintenance, repairs or the two schools. End of Story!

  35. @itsumo,
    If the CCSD's bonding measure passes, it can only legally be spent on what the voters approved. It couldn't be used for salaries.

    Please cite your source that the average teacher makes $74,000. The school district and state cite figures much, much lower than that-- around $55,000 including benefits.

    And as far as being a "part-time" employee, you must have no earthly idea how much teachers work. In order to do our job, we put in countless extra hours outside of the school day, including weekends. The average number of days a worker puts in is around 250, and at 8 hours a day, works approximately 2,000 hours a year. Last school year, I worked an average of 10 hour days, plus at least several hours each weekend. If you add all of that up, it's around 2,000 hours. Quit spreading lies.

  36. Stop driving new cars, stop eating out, stop buying yourself new clothes....make sacrifices and send your kids to private school. Many of them are affordable. We paid only $300/month per kid to send our kids to a Catholic grade school. With 3 kids, it cost us $900 per month at one point. How did we afford this? We drove cars until they crapped out and when we bought a replacement car, we bought used cars with 80k miles on them and paid cash. We bought used clothes instead of new ones and wore them until they were worn out. Result? Currently, 1 kid in a great private high school and 2 kids on great universities. And best of all? We didn't care about the CCSD and the unions. We didn't have to deal with miserable teachers. The teachers in the private schools our kids went to loved their job and were paid less than their public school counterparts. Yet, they didn't complain like these do.

  37. @Sinatra. What was the student to teacher ratio in the private schools? I'll bet it was much less than CCSD.

    @jzetzman. Roslenda NEVER cites her sources. We are supposted to believe her without question.

    @Roslenda. Until Congress changes the law to override the Supreme Court decision, state and local officials can's bar enrollment or deport illegals. Complain to your Federal representatives. I guess that you are ok with the 100K administrators salaries, the 82K salary average for the CCSD Administrative Phone book, and the reduntant administrators. Please explain to me how being a school auditor makes you an education expert?

  38. The reporter is misinformed or misleading when he writes, "During the boom years, Las Vegas was awash with money. The district built new schools and hired thousands of new teachers, enticed to the desert with generous incentives and wages."

    No, the state was generous with everybody EXCEPT teachers during the boom, which is one of the reasons that it's dead wrong to ask teachers to make concessions now. If you didn't share the boom, you shouldn't be asked to share the bust. How about the many school police officers who make more than twice what I make because they get paid overtime, even after their concessions? They darn well SHOULD have made concessions, since they rake it in with overtime and received nice raises during the boom. Teachers should not even be asked to after being left out of the boom salary increases.

    Please do your homework, Mr. T.

  39. I will be spending the entire Labor Day working at my teaching job. IRONIC, isn't it? Where is my overtime compensation, as the school police receive?

    I already did some of my work today, but I am so drowning in it - besides lesson plans and grading papers, watching required training videos and obligated to read a zillion IEP's - that I will have to spend ALL of LABOR DAY working.

    I hope to quit someday. Get a dummy to take my place, who enjoys being treated like garbage.

  40. Thank you, once again, Tanker, for getting this info out. Please keep it up! Maybe some of the thickest heads out there will wake up eventually.

  41. Comment removed by moderator. Name Calling

  42. @teacher. You are not alone. I'm sure many of us are working this weekend, and using the old manual grade books since the site base Easy Grade Pro was taken down and the "New Improved Web based Easy Grade Pro" is not up yet, and won't be until Wednesday at the earliest. I wonder if teachers will still have to post grades to Parent Link right away.

    Please feel free to copy and paste my posts. I have provided copies of my research to the reports at the Sun and the RJ but for some reason they choose not to use it. Teachers need to talk to neighbors about what is happening and the true facts about the staffing and finances of CCSD.

  43. Sinatra: Let's get the Legislature to authorize the DSA payment to the parents when they home school and/or private school their kids. It's about $5K per kid per year. We can phase out public K-12 and phase out paying for illegals.

  44. teacher: State employees went without raises while teachers got theirs, over and over again. Stop misrepresenting. Just how did the K-12 teacher pay scale get up to $96,000 a year for part time work?

  45. @ Roslenda. One more time, the maximum pay and benefits for a teacher with a PHD, and maximum experience is $93,785. How many of those do you think are teaching in CCSD. As has been explained to you many times, the CCSD salary schedule has remained the same since 2007-2008 school year. The only way a teacher moved on the schedule was if they had one more year of experience, capped at 5 years for a teacher with a bachelors degree and 9 years for a teacher with a masters degree or the teacher moved due to education. Every teacher has to renew their teaching license every 5 years and that requires at least 6 college hours. Please cite your source that a teacher works "part time"? You are only looking at the contract language, but you ignore the language that requires a teacher to maintain grade books, lesson plans etc without additional compensation.

    This is a link to the current CCSD teacher pay scale with benefits. Please show me the 96K figure you are so found of. I have looked and just don't see it.

  46. @Roslenda. Tuition for the Meadows ranges from 9530 for pre-school to 21110 for high school The tuition for Gorman is from 10700 to 12100. The Adelson School charges from 16850 to 19660. Faith Luthern goes is 9700.

    How is that 5K from the DSA going to pay tuition in one of those schools, even if the student is admitted?

  47. @Roslenda. How about a professional athlete, do they work part time? I mean a pro football player on works for 4 hours for 16 Sundays, a pro baseball player only works 4 hours for 162 games, or a pro basketball player, they work 2 hours for 82 games. By the same logic, they only work part time as well.

  48. CCSD announced it had eliminated 1015 POSITIONS, not actual people. If we had 18,000 in 2011-2012, 2012-2013 was to have a 17,000 as an example. It is a miscommunication and complicated difference.

  49. @Tanker1975 - student to teacher ratio was anywhere from 20-30. What difference does that make?

  50. Is there 1015 less teachers? No. Teachers were recalled (around 400) and teachers have been hired (around 300). If you reflect back on previous articles, the District said funding any of these 1015 positions would be impossible due to being financially strapped.

    This article states that the District is short $60+ million. How do they know what lays ahead for the next year if legislation hasn't even a decision on education funding for 2013-2014 from in Carson City?

    The article is CLEAR that the people you have ENTRUSTED to run the FINANCES for your School District and YOUR community say that THEY NEED TO CHECK ON SPENDING OF THE MONEY THEY ALREADY SPEND, EVERY PENNY AND DIME!

    It is ALSO saying we are a BROKE District, but Leaders DON'T need to go ask for more funding in Carson City, they are checking on every PENNY and DIME first, which means NOT GOING. They didn't check those Pennies and Dimes last year , that is why they lost.

    As a teacher, union member, parent, and a community member: I am insulted that my job, children's education, and students in my class are waiting for a check of the ol' pocket after their Levis get out of the dryer.
    You need funding, ask for it in Carson City. Got it, use it appropriately. CCSD cannot blame teachers anymore when they state they are financially sick, but won't go to the legislation Dr.

    Everyone has to question why CCSD wouldn't, why wouldn't you? (I refer back to the Article, "District cries Wolf")

    CCSD needs to look at what they have first?

    Actually, one of the best articles I have read from The Sun ...because anyone CAN read between the lines for once.

    We need to be present as Students, Parents, Teachers, Elected Officials, and Community Members during the elections and legislation to get our Leaders to do what WE the people put them there for, to take care of the community as they vowed to.

    Lisa Muntean (Speaking as a TEACHER,PARENT,and Community Member)

  51. Mr. Sinatra: How nice that you were able to cut back on spending in order to come up with private school tuition for your kids. What would be your suggestion for families getting by on minimum wage, or even with a $15/hour job? What expenses would you suggest they cut back on? As for your comment about the CCSD's "miserable teachers," that's truly offensive. If public school teachers are really so bad, perhaps you can explain why so many of our students graduate, successfully earn a college degree, and end up with good jobs. To be perfectly honest, Mr. Sinatra, I don't think you know what you're talking about, but carry on. As insulting as you may be, I do find some of the things you write to be perversely entertaining.

  52. Actually, I run a pantry for my kids that are so poverty stricken they need food and clothing. Their parents don't have cars. They get assistance for utilities and live with 5-6 people in a 1 or 2 bdrm. apartment. They should cut what for this private education?
    And, my kids attended CCSD and still do. They are in all AP classes, highly successful, and will be going to great colleges.

  53. If the CCSD salary schedule has remained the same since before the crash of 2008, then that really means that teachers have gotten a HUGE raise because they are still enrolled in their Donald Trump defined benefits pension plan, with its assumed Bernie Madoff 8% annual growth rate. If I had an IRA brokerage account where my retirement money was guaranteed to double every 10 years, I could save a million dollars easily. I just bought some shares of Metropolitan West High Yield Fund (MWHYX) that invests in "junk bonds", but even the fund's yield of 7% isn't as much as the NVPers fictional 8% yield. Many public pension funds have lost money on Facebook stock. That's hilarious. The Arkansas teachers pension fund is going to sue the underwriters of the IPO because Facebook hit a new low of $18. I suppose their lawsuit is "for the kids".

  54. @Brad Truax - I'm sick of listening to all of the whining from these teachers. It's old and annoying. My point was that because we were able to sacrifice and send our kids to private school, we didn't have to worry about this bickering. As far as how do do it on $15/hr...

    $15/hr x 2080 hrs/yr = $31,200/yr
    $6000/yr - Cheap apartment
    $800/yr - Car insurance
    $5000/yr - Bills
    $9700/yr - Tuition @ Faith Lutheran School
    $6000/yr - Food
    $1000/yr - Clothing

    That leaves $2700 leftover for whatever. At $31,000/yr a single parent can send 1 child to private school. A 2 income family at that level can send 2 kids. A little sacrifice can afford you a much better education/situation for your kid(s). Most people won't do it. We watched as other parents we knew drove expensive SUV's, ate out all the time, and bought Starbucks every day. We cut all of that out and were able to give our kids a great education and not get caught up in the CCSD mess. I encourage everyone else to do the same.

    Anything else Brad?

  55. I am a single parent, chose to keep my kids in public school and believe in the system. Just because you are Republican 'pro-voucher' for education, just say it. Gets so OLD as you said...

    But then you only think of your own kids, sir. My students parents don't go to Starbucks. Starbucks has closed down in my neighborhood.

    I don't even know why you care if you have all they answers and you say you haven't had to deal 'with ANY of this', then don't. You have it perfect for your kids and your family and think nothing of this problem but yet here you are! WHY?

    We already heard these lies from the Romney's living in the basement all week sir...moving on.

  56. I started my working career as a field service technician, and over time move through circuit engineering to what I am today, a software engineer/architect.

    I can assure that if my work was only 50% successful, I would not be able to command the pay I do. In fact, I would not be able to find work at all in my chosen field.

    I can think of no other profession that tolerates such poor results, and in fact says its members *deserve* better pay/benefits without a guarantee of better performance.

    Let's be generous and say CCSD can achieve a 70% graduation rate. Can anyone think of any job in the private sector that would tolerate a success rate of only 70%?!?

    If it is truly the case that a given teacher will perform better, meaning more of his or her students will graduate, if that teacher receives a higher salary, then that teacher should be fired immediately and replaced with someone who actually gives a damn about the children!

  57. You are talking about the failing of a system, not me. SEPARATE!
    If I am not doing my job, someone is in charge of me.
    If they aren't doing their job, someone is in charge of them.
    (To avoid finger cramps, multiply that many times)

    And so, Leaders should lead? Is that what your saying?
    Well then, as a member of this community what have you done to change those leaders and their effectiveness?
    Do you know who is running for the State Board of Ed?
    Do you know who is running for the School Board?
    Do you know what areas they represent and what their philosophies are?

  58. Sinatra:

    If you're tired of the whining, stop reading. As for your numbers, they don't work. First, you would have to assume that the worker in your scenario doesn't pay any taxes, which at their income level, isn't true. According to the IRS, a person making $31,200 has a tax rate of 15%, around $4,680. Your leftover total of $2,700 is now -$1,980. Granted, they will probably get a refund in May or June of the next year but that doesn't help now. Also, where are you finding apartments for $500 a month in Vegas? Your scenario also leaves no room for medical care, incidentals, emergencies, etc.

  59. Thank you, Marcus. As a math teacher I was gonna go there, but too much effort to just be rebutted no matter what.
    And, the federal guidelines for FREE lunch for students due to poverty would include this scenario with 2 children.
    Did he raise his children in the 70's?

  60. @Marcus Paden/@lisareddd - LMAO, this is where it gets really fun....the taxes are inconsequential because of writeoffs. Ever heard of those? Plus having a child gives you tax breaks It's really easy. How do I know? Because parents of classmates of our kids did it. With salaries much lower than that. As far as medical care, incidentals, and emergencies, many of the families you refer to in public school struggle with those as well. I was showing you how to "MAKE IT WORK". However, you don't want to hear that. The Starbucks reference wasn't for the kids, it was for the parents. Learn to live with less and you can get MORE out of life.

    And why did I choose to opine on this subject? Because the LV Sun put it on the front page of their online newspaper yesterday and because it's a free country. Wait, you Democrats forgot about that right? Because I must be a Republican? LMFAO

    Instead of discussing the issues, you make it political and personal. That doesn't solve anything. You attack people with opposing points of view that offer solutions so that public school teachers can stop complaining. The teachers and parents of public school kids try to say it's about the "kids". If it was, then stop the bickering and find a solution. If mine isn't the answer, then look for something else. But to hear about the "we didn't even get our COLA" and "We haven't got a pay raise" stuff is ridiculous. Many people didn't either and they're learning to live on.

  61. @Marcus Paden/@lisareddd - oh yeah, and almost forgot about the rent for $500. A quick look for rentals on will show you plenty of them for under $500. Are they lavish apartments in Summerlin or Green Valley, no. Additionally, many private schools offer tuition assistance for families with low income scenarios. I didn't even bring that up as an option. Again learning to live with less.

    There are plenty of solutions out there that the average citizen can do if they choose to think outside the box and take control of their situation. All you have to do is be willing to make the sacrifice. If the people your tax money are supposed to pay for are unwilling to do it, perhaps you should do it yourself?

  62. @Sinatra. This issue with the teachers was NEVER about COLA or pay raises. The contract that CCEA had with CCSD specified that as teachers gained experience and additional education they would be compensated for it. At certain points, the compensation for experience stops, depending on the degree. The pay rates had been frozen since the 2007-2008 school year.

    CCSD has 1378 people who are administrators. According to CCSD, there are approximately 17,000 teachers. That gives a teacher to administrator ratio of 12.33 to. The teacher to student ratio, assuming 300,000 students and 17000 teachers is 17.64 to 1. Apparently, CCSD thinks teachers need more supervision than students.

  63. Sinatra: Many of the people also get rental assistance provided by yours truly via local housing vouchers and/or Section 8 federally subsidized housing. It's absolutely disgusting that those who refuse to work and refuse to make their own way live better than many who make do--at least temporarily. You are correct again in that those who take and don't make do, don't save, don't invest in themselves and their kids, wind up in subsidized senior housing (tiny 400 sq ft) or low-rent very-used mobile homes on food stamps and Medicaid. This is somewhat less comfortable than SS of about $1,000 a month, your own house, your own investments, your sense of self worth based on self reliance.

  64. Sinatra: A $500 a month apartment in Las Vegas? LOL! I couldn't find a $500 a month apartment 20 years ago. I did have one that was $535 and it was in a really crappy part of town.

  65. The one thing that didn't show in Sinatra's calculations was gas money. Thinking that might be a major part of the 5k for bills.

  66. Boftx said: "I can think of no other profession that tolerates such poor results, and in fact says its members *deserve* better pay/benefits without a guarantee of better performance."

    How about doctors? Look how much more prevalent diabetes and heart disease is now than it was 20 years ago.

  67. @Sinatra
    "we didn't have to worry about this bickering"

    Really? like to bicker...

    And BTW, point proven. This new neo-conservative side creates these scenarios that are illogical. This type of person will tell everyone how they are doing it all wrong.

    Once again, the topic isn't why we all don't find money for private schools. And I am sure you and Roslenda will agree it is not about creating more subsidies.

    Teachers are Democratic and Republican. So is the public.
    That is why ALL people should participate: REPEATING:
    We (Democrats, Republicans, or other) need to be present as Students, Parents, Teachers, Elected Officials, and Community Members during the elections and legislation to get our Leaders to do what WE the people put them there for, to take care of the community as they vowed to.

    Do you know who is running for the State Board of Ed?
    Do you know who is running for the School Board?
    Do you know what areas they represent and what their philosophies are?

  68. Sinatra:

    The problem is you didn't make it work. I already made allowances for refunds on their taxes but that doesn't affect the month-to-month. Regardless of any benefit they may receive at the end of the tax season, they still are -$1,980 by the end of the year based on your numbers. So no, you didn't make it work.

    Also, I didn't make any of my comments to you personal or attacking. I challenged your theory with basic facts. I stayed on the issue you raised the whole tie so I'm not sure what you're talking about.

    As for the bickering, when a contract is signed between two parties, then the contract should be honored. And you know who says its about the kids? Politicians and other people who don't agree with teachers. Contract disputes are about teachers and school districts and have nothing to do with students. I always find it funny when people and pundits get all high and mighty when they say, "Teacher unions say its about the kids but they don't show it." The teachers union job is to fight for their members, and those members are not students.

  69. @Marcus Paden - Of course you take the position of honoring the contracts at all costs...especially if it impacts the kids. The kids don't matter to you guys, it's all about the money. Which is why I suggest everyone send their kid(s) to private where teachers care about the kids and not about the contract. LMAO, you just strengthened my position!

    Obviously, you've never filed don't need to wait until the end of the year to get a refund. You can choose not to withhold ANY federal income tax and pay what you owe at the end of the year when you file. A person under the circumstances we describe above will easily be able to write off enough to cover the shortage you describe above.....easily. How do I know? Because I know families who are doing it right now. Yes, right now. Additionally, when our kids were in private elementary school, we knew parents who made due with less than what I describe in that budget...and fully paid their federal income tax obligation. It's possible if you're willing to SACRIFICE. Something most people have a hard time doing.

  70. Craziness! Avoid for me, not fix my town. Yes it will make you so mad, but it takes a village. Join the village to make our community better with what we have presently, and if you need a change...create a roundtable conversation in your community of that change or further participation that may increase your communities educational outcome. I am done in this comment section, as previous comments reflect advice that should be utilized without telling parent how to find the best education.

  71. Sinatra:

    I take the position of honoring contracts because it's the right thing to do. It's always interesting how people have the solution when it doesn't affect your pocket. Your position that public school teachers don't care students is crap. Most teachers are more than qualified to work in some other profession but they choose to be teachers; not for lucrative contracts, but because they care about kids. And your right, private school teachers don't have to worry about contracts because they don't have them. The school pays what it wants, cuts what it wants, and teachers have no say. Maybe that's why private school teachers leave the profession at twice the rate public school teachers do.

    As for taxes, I file them every year and I hope you're not someone's tax professional because what you're advocating is stupid and potentially very costly. They're already in a precarious financial position and you suggest they don't pay taxes and hope they can write-off enough to not have to pay later. It is political season and sounds like something a politician would suggest.