Voting began Tuesday morning to determine whether or not teachers willl go on strike next school year. As voting is underway, the Clark County Education Association is hosting information sessions throughout the week—allowing union members to learn more about implications of their vote.
One of many educators who attended one of those information sessions was first grade teacher, Clara Munk. Munk, like many of her colleagues, wants Carson City lawmakers to figure out how to get teachers their three-percent raise for the next school year—as promised by Governor Steve Sisolak. “Where’s the money?” Munk asked. “It’s coming from our pocket.”
Currently, a tentative budget for the district doesn’t mention raises. In fact, it proposes more cuts—leaving teachers, like Munk, concerned that their students will suffer. “If i’m coming to school every day to the children and I’m exhausted, fatigued, or frustrated by everything happening outside of the classroom…how’s that good for the kids?” Munk asked.
Kindergarten teacher Kristan Nigro is considering striking too. She’s concerned that class sizes will grow, while resources shrink. “When they’re having to share desks and textbooks…that’s a problem,” Nigro stressed. “They talked about the teachers’ salary whch is great and all, but I feel like a lot of what the teachers are worried about is being able to give the students the resources they need.”
According to a report, lawmakers need more than 100 million dollars to give teachers that promised raise. Lawmakers still have until June to find the money and approve the final 8.8 billion dollar state budget for the next two years. Teachers, hope that will happen strike-free.
“We don’t want it to get to that point, we just want what’s fair,” Nigro explained.
“We’re just hoping that politicians will keep their word and we won’t have to step through this ring,” said Munk. “Ball’s in their court…we’ll see.”
The district has said that its teachers are not allowed to strike, but union members are willing to take the risk. Information sessions will continue throughout the week. Teachers have until Saturday night to cast their votes on the strike.