LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Clark County School District meeting was reminiscent of fire and brimstone Thursday night. Well, not really. That description was a little dramatic. But after the Clark County Education Association and all of its supporters brought the fire as they passionately expressed their disappointment in what was happening with teachers’ contracts — one could understand the comparison.
Less than 5 seconds after the pledge of allegiance the public comment portion of CCSD’s meeting begin. A possible looming teachers’ strike due to the break down in negotiations between the CCEA and CCSD was the hot topic of discussion.
Things got so heated Supt. Dr. Jesus Jara and the trustees decided to recess the meeting for a later date. The superintendent released the following statement:
“As we continue negotiations with the teachers union, it is vital that cooler heads prevail in order to maintain the integrity of this process. Talks are not over and the district is very interested in continuing discussing possible solutions that will lead to a fair compromise for all involved,” stated Superintendent Dr. Jesus F. Jara in response to inflammatory outbursts and threats at tonight’s Board of School Trustees meeting. “It is unfortunate that we had to end the meeting early, but for the safety of our Trustees, and everyone else in attendance, it was the right course of action. Safety at our public meetings must remain paramount in order for the community to feel free to come and discuss matters affecting their children. Our children are watching and we have to be the good examples they deserve. Whether they are being taught in the classroom or when outside of the classroom, every decision we make has to be made with students as our top priority because their well-being is impacted. We look forward to continuing this process in hopes of coming to a resolution very soon.”–CCSD Supt. Dr. Jesus Jara
There’s no word on when the meeting will resume.
Ending the meeting was not enough to stop the CCEA and its supporters from continuing to speak out.
Right before it was announced that the meeting was going to be recessed the trustees and superintendent were escorted off of Liberty High School’s auditorium stage for a short break. The audience didn’t like that, so they booed. And when one of the trustees came back after the break to say the meeting was going to be recessed until a later date, the boos grew louder and even more rambunctious.
“The fact that they walked out on us shows us that they don’t respect us the way they should,” one teacher said. “They made a promise. They made a contract and they broke that contract by telling us they’re not going to pay us.”
Once they were outside the large crowd chanted “we’ll be back!”
“I was hoping that maybe they’d come to a resolution seeing as how serious we are out here,” said teacher Armando Barranco.
“If they’re going to walk out on us, don’t be surprised when we walk out because it’s time for us to take a stand.”
“We’ll be back,” was just one of many chants from the teachers’ union Thursday night. At one point they were also heard saying, “honor our contracts, or we walk.”
They were also heard telling the trustees and Supt. Jara “shame on you.”
For months, employees have argued over better pay, a step increase, and a column movement progression.
“We want the district to honor the promises they made to us teachers,” said Barranco. “We don’t want to strike but if we have to, we will.”
Teachers, students and parents expressed their emotions in a rally at Liberty High School Thursday, just ahead of Clark County School District’s Board of Trustees meeting. Clark County Education Association officials told 8 News Now over 1,200 people lined up with signs and chants for change, as they made their messages to the district overwhelmingly clear.
“Coming here and seeing what’s happening here makes me cry,” CCSD teacher Megan Planz said of the district’s current state.
“I’m tired of them not taking care of their promises,” CCSD teacher Lisa Sokoloski spoke on her frustration.
“Prioritize and value those who interact with our children on a daily basis,” former CCSD student Daniel Weber told 8 News Now.
One of the teachers who participated in the rally said he was very disappointed when he board meeting was shut down.
“We know that the legislature is moving in the right direction,” another CCSD teacher added. “The governor is moving in the right direction, the public is moving in the right direction. Why don’t they take care of this problem?”
The union has set Sept. 10 as the day for the beginning of a possible strike if the CCEA’s demands aren’t met.