Teachers Upset Over Governor Going After School Money - 8 News NOW

Teachers Upset Over Governor Going After School Money

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LAS VEGAS -- Clark County voters approved a tax in 2008 that was meant to go directly to improve schools this year. Now, Governor Sandoval wants to change where that money goes. Teachers are claiming he's pulling a bait and switch on voters.

Teachers feel they worked to build a piggy bank for rainy days like this and now the governor is breaking it open. But Governor Sandoval says in a time of state emergency, he has the legal authority to do so.

Clark County teachers say they saw the writing on the wall in 2008. School budgets would be cut, and salaries slashed. So they pushed to give voters the choice. Raise hotel taxes, and for the first two years let state lawmakers use the money as they want. Starting in 2011 that money was to go directly to teacher salaries and student programs.

But Governor Sandoval's proposed budget prevents that money from going directly into local schools which is upsetting teachers.

"It's kinda robbing Peter to pay Paul to be honest with you. The governor and other legislators do not want to raise taxes or revenues so they let the teachers do it," said Ruben Murill, president of the teacher's union.

Sandoval's Chief of Staff Heidi Gansert describes where the governor wants to redirect more than $200 million.

"It goes to the general fund and will help mitigate the cuts to those programs and to some of the health and human services programs. We really haven't looked at one versus the other," she said.

So if voters approved the money to go directly to local schools, what legal authority does the Governor Sandoval have to reverse that? The answer is it rests in one word on the ballot -- advisory.

"Granted, it was advisory. But when over 60 percent of the population votes as we want this money dedicated for education, that should send a message to the legislature."

"It's not fair. I voted for that fund for the school, but if you want to use it for somewhere else, it's not fair," said Romanwork Abate.

The Nevada Attorney General's office says they have not yet weighed in on the matter.

It will be up to the legislature whether they reverse what voters told them or in legal terms  "advised" three years ago.

Clark County School District employees are facing a five percent cut in pay and an additional cut of around four percent in their retirement plan.



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