LAS VEGAS -- School budget cuts are imminent and the big question is where will those cuts will be and how deep will they go?
Clark County School District needs to cut between $250 and $410 million to balance the budget. On Wednesday morning, trustees approved a tentative budget of $1.8 billion that they will send to Carson City.
At this stage, the cuts are still only proposed. Many of them will have to be discussed in collective bargaining with the teachers' union.
"When you are cutting programs, it's like deciding which child you're going to save," said Dr. Linda Young, school trustee.
The news of the cuts hit hard for one CCSD employee who moved from Mississippi to Nevada for a better life.
"Mississippi was ranked 49th out of 50 states when it came to pay, and therefore, as a substitute teacher, we didn't even receive minimum wage. This caused me to literally sleep in my car for two years. Two nights a week I was able to get a room for the purpose of taking a shower," said Teri Shuman, CCSD employee.
Under the tentative budget, class sizes would increase by three kids in each grade. Teachers and staff would have their salaries cut nearly 8 percent and they'd also have to pay more for health insurance and retirement as well as take mandatory furlough days. As many as 1,800 positions would be eliminated.
The district says the salary reduction would save nearly $130 million. The district would also cut half of its budget for school supplies and text books which would save about $24 million.
"We have to have the public making Carson City aware of just how dire these straits area, how dark these times are. I wore black intentionally today because to me today is a day of mourning," said Lorraine Alderman, school trustee.
After a look at the proposals, no one in the room was happy, least of all the school board trustees. By law, the district must submit a balanced budget to the state.
"I remember Senator Horsford's comment to me, 'Mississippi can finally say, thank God there's a Nevada. We have someone we can look down to,'" said Shuman.