Educators react to $68M in school budget cuts

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Clark County schools are facing $68 million in budget cuts for the next fiscal school year.  The school board passed the budget at Wednesday’s meeting in a 5-2 vote.

Educators across the valley are worried and frustrated because they say they’re already strapped, so even more budget cuts will be devastating.

CCSD says as much as they want to help, it’s out of their hands.

“We’ve cut approximately $600,000 from our operating budget,” said Jill Pendleton, the principal of Clark High School.

Pendleton says she fears specialized programs at Clark High School could be on the chopping block.

“Our number one priority was trying to keep the cuts as far away from the classroom as possible, but with cuts that deep, it’s virtually impossible,” Pendleton said.

Dozens of educators made their voices heard at the meeting Monday night.
According to many of them, their biggest issues are less staffing, but bigger classrooms.

“We are having to cut teacher positions and make class sizes even larger next school year,” said Michelle DeMayo, a teacher at Arbor View High School.  “My chemistry class is average 36 students, that is 50 percent larger than what is recommended.”

According to the school board, it’s not up to them.

“We feel the same way, and so the reality is folks that we only get what the state gives us; end of discussion.  And we have to live within that,” said Deanna L. Wright, the president of the Clark County School District.

John Vellardita is with the Clark County Education Association, which is a local teacher’s union.

He says there is enough money to cover the deficit, mostly from state-mandated, year-end reserves.

“For them to say that they have a fiscal crisis, we have a very difficult time believing it, and so we’re not into ‘let’s just punt the problem to the state,’ because we know there’s an issue at the state, without having accountability at the local,” Vellardita said.

CCSD is pushing back, saying that money has already been eaten up by rising costs.  With that said, no matter where that money is, educators have a clear message:

“We are operating on bare bones,” Pendleton said.

Some CCSD schools in Henderson have organized rallies outside their schools Wednesday morning to protest the cuts.

The schools are as followed:

  • Basic High School
  • Galloway Elementary
  • Foothill High School
  • Coronado High School
  • Bob Miller Middle School
  • Martha P. King Elementary School

The rallies are expected to take place between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 p.m.

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