Clark County School District teachers and the union that represents them are concerned with the fact that a promised pay raise from the state may never happen.
A bill to fund a 3 percent raise is waiting for its first hearing in the Nevada State Legislature.
Elementary school teacher Marie Neisess says it’s time for a change because she hasn’t had a raise in two years.
“Without that salary increase, without that increase in it to encourage other people in the United States to come here to teach, we’re never going to improve,” Neisses said.
Governor Steve Sisolak, D-NV, promised that change earlier this year in the state of the state speech with the first state-funded raise in over a decade.
“Legislators, I am asking you to stand with me and stand with our educators by including them in the 3 percent pay raise,” Gov. Sisolak said.
Another top priority bill on lawmakers’ agenda is a fix to the gun background check law which passed in the first few weeks of the session. But the bill that would codify the pay raises into law, Assembly Bill 277, was only just introduced last week.
It doesn’t have a committee hearing date set, drawing concern from some lawmakers. Clark County Education Association Executive Director John Vellardita worries the hundreds of bills that have been introduced in the last week, many that increase state spending, could hurt the bill’s chances.
“The sum total of those bills, their fiscal hit blows out of the water the governor’s budget, and we’re concerned, because in the end, somebody, without introducing any new revenue, is going to start doing horse-trading, and education cannot be a horse trader,” said Vellardita.
According to Vellardita, teachers are getting restless.
“There’s a fever demanding justice and to be treated as professionals, and I don’t think Nevada is immune from that,” Vellardita said. “I think that’s catching on.
Patrick Walker, Reporter: “Anything could be on the table?
John Vellardita: “Anything is on the table.”
Neisess says that includes walking off the job if lawmakers fail to pass teacher raises.
“Whether it’s attending the rally on April 27th or if it means a strike and we come together and we decide how we do that, then absolutely, I’m willing to do anything it takes, because enough is enough,” said Neisess.
State law expressly prohibits public employees from striking.