Schools must find cuts equaling $98 per student without triggering strike

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS-TV) – Principals and School Organization Teams (SOTs) in Las Vegas valley schools now have to figure out how to cut $98 per student from their budgets, and they have to do it without triggering a strike.

The Clark County School District put the responsibility for the cuts back on the schools Wednesday after deciding to reinstate the dean positions. But each school will have to steer clear of cuts that the Clark County Education Association has identified as grounds for a strike.

What’s on the table, and what’s not?

Schools cannot cut:

  • teachers
  • vacant but funded teacher positions
  • anything that will increase class sizes
  • Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara also added that support professionals cannot be cut

Schools can choose to cut:

  • classroom supplies
  • programs like music
  • after-school activities
  • operations
  • facilities
  • Also, schools can also make their own choices to eliminate the dean positions.

Some school leaders are looking for guidance to navigate the limits.

“We’re already getting reports from some of the schools where there’s discussions around how we’re going to tackle this issue of finding money,” said John Vellardita, executive director of the CCEA.

He said the union continues to monitor the budget cuts coming to schools.

“We’ve been in conversations with different SOTs … we’ve been in conversations with principals. That’s the interesting thing, how many principals have contacted us about this.”

The district must cut $17 million to make up a $35 million budget shortfall.

Jesus Jara at news conference

Jara initially eliminated the dean positions to come up with the money, but it caused an uproar. Now Jara has placed the responsibility for cuts on the secondary schools, where deans are returning to their jobs.

Some principals welcome it.

David Wilson, principal at Eldorado High School, said, “You’re leaving the decision for schools that know what they need.”

Wilson said he already knows how to shift his budget to bring back deans.

“It’s a simple fix. We’d already created two student success advocate positions or roughly $200,000 so it’s going to be an easy switch from those two people who were going to be student success advocates. Now they’re going to be dean of students. It’ll be a wash.”

But other schools may find tough decisions.

“Let’s be clear, when we say everything,” Vellardita said. “Eighty-eight cents of every dollar spent by the school district is on human capital. Those are staffing positions. So the ability to find dollars in those schools, there’s not a lot of latitude.”

Principals have until Tuesday to complete the budget process. Any adjustments made must be approved by the school’s regional leadership and principal supervisors.

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