LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Survey results — obtained exclusively by 8 News Now — show teachers overwhelmingly support taking some sort of action, including striking, to ensure they get raises.
This comes as the local teachers’ union and its members are expressing concerns over a number of issues, including pay, in front of lawmakers right now. The union has publicly been talking about a possible strike over promised pay raises, class sizes and other issues for three weeks.
The new survey shows how serious teachers are about striking.
After we first reported teachers were considering a strike, the union conducted a survey and 5,000 educators responded, both union and non-union. Ninety-four percent of them said they are willing to take some sort of demonstrative action including a strike.
8 News Now recently spoke with Marie Neisses who is one of them.
“Absolutely, I’m willing to do anything it takes, because enough is enough,” said Marie Neisses, elementary school teacher.
CCSD teachers have not received step increases or merit raises in two years. The state hasn’t funded teacher raises in over a decade. Neisses says that’s a big part of why she and other teachers believe they are underpaid.
“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.
Clark County teachers walked out in 1969 prompting lawmakers to change state law that year to prohibit public employees from striking. Clark County Education Association Executive Director John Vellardita says teachers are willing to take a risk.
“Even though it’s prohibitied, it’s one of these tipping point moments where people say, ‘you know what, I’ve got nothing left to lose.'”
Now, Vellardita says teachers want to hold lawmakers accountable after many ran on a platform of increasing funding for education.
“Many years of disappointment, and we entered into this session with high expectations,” Vellardita said.
In response, a CCSD spokesman told 8 News Now in a statement:
“Nevada law makes it illegal for local government workers such as school district employees to strike because our work is essential to the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state of Nevada, including the 320,000 children we serve.”
The school year ends May 23 so the union says any potential strike would come before the governor signs the final budget bill in early June that would send the money for teacher raises to the school districts around the state.
Public opinion appears to be on the teachers’ side.