LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — UPDATE: During the CCSD Board of Trustee meeting Monday night, the board unanimously approved the final budget.
Clark County School District trustees are set to adopt the budget Monday night for the upcoming school year. It’s a balanced budget, but one that does not include teacher raises promised by Governor Steve Sisolak back in January.
The process of balancing the budget is always a delicate dance, but this year it’s been more of a public battle.
Even when the district adopts the final budget it’s certain to be amended at least once before it’s submitted to the state in mid-June because state funding levels won’t be finalized until the first few days of June. It’s been a source of tension not only this year but in years past.
Anticipating a shortfall, CCSD staff has proposed a balanced budget that does not include funding raises for teachers. The budget is just over $2.5 billion, which is $75 million more than the current school year.
Analysts are expecting $103.5 million in additional dollars from various taxes and the state’s school funding account, but they cite $123.4 million in additional expenses, which comes as the district’s enrollment is projected to slightly shrink next year.
“I can tell you the system is structurally flawed,” said Gov. Steve Sisolak, D-Nevada. We need to fix the system; the number keeps changing, it keeps moving.”
CCSD officials have been at odds with their counterparts in Carson City since shortly after Governor Sisolak laid out his proposed budget back in January. The governor has maintained that his budget covered every school district’s funding requests and included enough money for other costs related to raises and other expenses.
But based on a report by the non-partisan Guinn Center, the school district would need an additional $107 million from the state to make that happen. The district has said it needs $120 million.
“It was $60 million, $90 million, $120 million, $180 million,” said Gov. Sisolak. “I don’t know what the number is.”
Under Republican control in 2015, State Senator Scott Hammond says it was a similar situation, and in some cases, lawmakers transitioned to grant-like categorical funding that the school district couldn’t redirect.
It’s a battle, but now in the minority, he’s happy to watch from afar.
“I know that they’re having their issues. The governor’s saying that we put the money in there, ‘whatever you guys are doing with the money, that’s on you,’ that’s between the governor and the school district,” Sen. Hammond said.
District officials declined to comment ahead of the meeting. Instead, they pointed 8 News NOW to this statement from Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara.
“There are no major changes from the tentative budget presented to Trustees in April, as we do not know how much additional funding we will receive from the Legislature. We can re-open our budget at any point before December to add in additional funds, including dollars for employee raises.”
The meeting will get underway at 5:30 p.m.