School Board Approves Budget, Millions in Cuts - 8 News NOW

School Board Approves Budget, Millions in Cuts

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LAS VEGAS - There's shared frustration among Clark County School Board trustees, unions, parents and teachers.

"I understand the public's mistrust of these numbers, because they change," said School Board President Carolyn Edwards.

One number hasn't changed: $407 million. It is the largest single-year cut in Clark County School District history.

That means 1,800 positions will be eliminated, including teachers, bus drivers and English-language specialists.

"We still have a lot to ask of our employees," said Clark County School District Superintendent Dr. Dwight Jones. "It'll either be concessions or jobs."

Employees would have to take furlough days and pay more for health insurance. Class sizes would increase by at least two students per classroom.

"I hope the public will remember this process," said Clark County School Board Trustee John Cole.

The approval process grew emotional Wednesday night. None of the seven trustees supported the motion, but they begrudgingly passed it anyway.

They are clinging to one glimmer of hope - the new revenue slide from room taxes, school support taxes and new money found by the Economic Forum, which totals $278 million.

"Any money that comes in, we're going to start restoring programs," said School Board Trustee Deanna Wright. "We're going to go back to full staffing at schools which is teachers. We're going to go back to reducing the class sizes again."

All money must go through the Nevada Legislature first.

"This whole process and the governor's plan not to have a special session until the end of June essentially makes our teachers hostages to the process," said Clark County Education Association President Ruben Murillo.

"We know where our kids need to be, where our kids need to be going, and what it's going to take," Wright said. "We feel very stifled, because we're not getting the support from our state leaders that we need to be able to achieve what we want to."

The Legislature ends June 6. Once the governor and state lawmakers approve a final budget, the Clark County School District has 30 days to amend its budget to reflect the final numbers.

If the Legislature goes into a lengthy special session, however, the school district will have less time to finalize its staffing levels before the start of the 2011-2012 school year. 

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