LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A plan is in motion to keep Clark County School District students in school — even if — teachers go on strike Sept. 10. The district is facing a budget deficit of $35 million over a two-year period.
A major sticking point in the negotiation with the union is that teachers who have advanced degrees will not be getting a pay bump. Around 2,000 teachers would qualify for that additional pay, but it would cost the district millions more dollars.
While school administrators have not shared their specific plan yet, experts tell 8 News Now the district’s best efforts might not be enough to keep students engaged.
“Who would be actually giving instruction?” Katrina Routledge, a parent of CCSD students wanted to know.
That’s the biggest question Routledge and many parents are asking as teachers prepare to strike. She has kids in 6th, 8th, and 9th grade and is worried they’ll check out, if teachers walk out.
School district administrators met Tuesday to discuss a “comprehensive contingency plan” if a strike were to happen. They’re looking at “traditional and non-traditional options” for instruction and are brainstorming “creative and thoughtful ways to engage students.”
“What could they be creative about? Having, putting in videos? Having assemblies?” Routledge isn’t convinced.
If each student was given a pad or computer to actually work on classwork, possibly that might work. But anything other than giving actual instruction, they’re going to be sitting there twiddling their thumbs.Katrina Routledge, CCSD parent
“It’s one of the largest to have occurred in the last decade or so,” said Brad Marianno, UNLV assistant professor of education policy and leadership.
He says in the event of strike CCSD will likely combine classrooms and find short-term replacements.
“CCSD has a substitute pool of about 4,000 to the extent that those substitutes want to participate while the strike is going on, that’s an option, he said. “They can pull from administrators and bring them back into the classroom.”
But even if all available substitutes and central administration employees are put in the mix, Marianno says that still won’t be enough.
“So, class sizes, as high as they are, might get even higher.”
Whatever happens next, Routledge believes most parents want to keep their kids learning.
To ensure an active pool of qualified substitute teachers, the district says all fingerprint costs associated with hiring are being waived. They’re also asking for retired teachers and local university professors to help them in the classroom.
The district will be releasing more details about their official contingency plan in the coming days.