Las Vegas Teachers Rally for Resources - 8 News NOW

Las Vegas Teachers Rally for Resources

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LAS VEGAS - Hundreds of teachers rallied during a school board meeting Thursday night. They are convinced the school district is playing politics with the budget, and they say the district is shortchanging the futures of more than 300,000 students.

This is the third high-intensity rally unleashed by the Clark County Education Association in the past three months.

"We step up and we try to fill the hole," music specialist Cindy Johnson said. "The hole keeps getting bigger. We keep trying to fill it out of our own resources, and we can't do that anymore."

The teachers rallied for resources. Successful, experienced instructors say they are at their wits' end.

"Our teachers are working 21, 14-hour days, weekends, over the holidays just to make sure that students get the education they need - without a lot of resources, training, without a lot of support that they need to make sure their job gets done," Clark County Education Association President Ruben Murillo said.

The rallies are occurring while the school board and teachers union wait for an arbitrator to resolve a $36.9 million impasse. Neither side can discuss contract negotiations, but the CCEA revealed Thursday it hired someone to review the district's budget.

"A close analysis of the district's two billion dollar budget shows the district has hidden money in other budgeted-like items, creating an illusion of a budget shortfall," Murillo said.

The union made the claim while board members held their regular meeting.

"Let me tell you from my heart that if there was money for raises for teachers, that we would be fighting for them," School Board Trustee Deanna Wright said.

She says the district does not have the resources to give teachers raises or extra benefits. She says class sizes and jobs would be saved if the arbitrator rules in the district's favor.

"I don't believe that we're playing politics with the teachers. I think, unfortunately, that the Nevada Legislature or our state as a whole has never adequately funded education," she said.

The deficit and contract dispute could be resolved by the end of February.

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