LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Clark County Education Association is preparing to go on strike. On Tuesday the teachers’ union announced that it Tuesday, Sept. 10 as the day educators walk out of their classrooms. The looming strike that the Clark County School District has been hoping to avoid could last multiple days.
The CCEA’s decision follows a break down in contract negotiations between CCSD and the Clark County Education Association. Roughly 11,000 teachers are a part of CCEA. If the district does not address specific demands from the union by Friday, educators will be ready to pick up their picket signs.
“This is not a decision we’ve taken lightly, said John Vellardita, the executive director of the CCEA. “We’ve thought about it a long time, but this is one of those moments; a line in the sand.”
If the CCEA goes on strike, they will be fined $50,000 a day. According to Vellardita, the fee is acceptable to get what teachers need.
“It’s something we take serious,” said Vellardita. “This is about your students’ education because we have to pay these educators to live in the community they teach in.”
Vellardita says the situation is avoidable if the district includes in the proposal to the board of trustees this Thursday that it will pay teachers who advance professionally.
“I think everything would be back on the table in terms of what we would do, yes,” said Vellardita.
The current proposal includes a three percent salary raise for district employees this year, a 2 percent step increase the next two years for eligible employees, and the district contributing four percent more to the medical plan. It’s an offer other unions must consider as well.
“We’re asking for a proposal that meets our demands,” said Vellardita.
Vellardita acknowledges that not all of the teachers may join the strike because they run a risk of losing their jobs.
CCSD plans to keep schools open if a strike happens. Superintendent Sr. Jesus Jara and school principals held an emergency closed-door meeting Tuesday to discuss ways to engage students if a strike happens.
The district released the following statement:
“A strike must be prevented. We agree that teachers deserve more pay, which is why we are offering a 3 percent raise, a step increase and contributing 4 percent towards medical for all their tremendous work,” Superintendent Dr. Jesus F. Jara stated. “The total for those increases is approximately $69 million; therefore, an additional request cannot be met with an approximate $35-million-dollar forecasted deficit for the biennium. To that end, a compromise must occur to ensure our students’ academic progress isn’t interrupted. CCSD will work tirelessly at the bargaining table to reach a deal that supports the best learning environment for all children. If the union leadership moves forward with a strike, please know we are committed to providing all children with safe buildings and quality instruction.”
The union plans to hold a rally outside Liberty High School at 4:30 p.m. Thursday before the board of trustees meeting.
The Human Resource Department is looking for qualified substitute teachers and will waive fingerprinting fees for those interested in filling in as a teacher.