Laid-off Teachers May Return to Classroom - 8 News NOW

Laid-off Teachers May Return to Classroom

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LAS VEGAS -- About 200 Clark County teachers who were laid off last month may return to the classroom temporarily.

The Clark County School District is expected to use $43 million in federal funding to place the teachers in struggling schools.

School district spokeswoman Amanda Fulkerson said teachers will be rehired depending on the subjects or grades they teach and what positions are open.

"Keep in mind this is one time," she said. "This is a band-aid for one year. We're still looking forward and we're still working with our teacher's union to try to get them to come to the table and take some concessions so we can live within our means.

Weeks ago, the district was forced by an arbitrator to provide pay raises district officials said it couldn't afford.

As a result, 400 pink slips were given out. The action prompted protests by the teachers union, the Clark County Education Association.

The teachers were let go because the school district had a $64 million budget shortfall next year, Fulkerson said.

The federal money is earmarked for Title I schools -- schools where 40 percent or more of students are on the free or reduced lunch program.

In Clark County, 230 schools qualify for the program.

An elementary school teacher told 8 News NOW she was one of the people let go. She requested anonymity because she is afraid she will lose the chance to return to the classroom.

"I thought I had a job at the end of the year," she said. "I left feeling good. (I) left all my stuff, and then it turns out I get a call saying, ‘you don't.'"

Fulkerson said that for a laid off teacher to land a job, there needs to be an opening in their field.

But teacher's union president Ruben Murillo said it shouldn't matter what subjects are open when asking teachers back into the classroom.

"Give those teachers that have been laid off the opportunity to get a provisional license to go into one of those hard-to-fill areas and they'll do it," he said. "Before any other teacher gets hired, before anybody is brought on, whether they're brand new teachers or part of a corps of teachers, these (laid off) teachers need to be given first priority."

He said teachers all have an education degree, meaning they're qualified to teach anything.

The union is asking the district to allow people to train for what's open so the teachers can continue their careers.

Fulkerson said the district is trying to find ways to get the teachers back in the classroom.

"It doesn't necessarily mean that those that are laid off match the positions that are becoming open," she said. "We have to be smart about the people that we're hiring to teach our kids."

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