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Teachers union responds to school district budget shortfall

Posted at 2:32 PM, May 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-19 18:49:17-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Less than a year removed from a district wide teacher strike in Clark County brought about by tight budgets and raise demands, the district is facing another sizable shortfall because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Clark County School District Board of Trustees voted to approve a budget Monday projecting a $37,780,000 budget shortfall.

RELATED: School district trustees to discuss massive budget cuts for next school year

Clark County Education Association Executive Director John Vellardita said Tuesday the pandemic and money fears have caused a lot of anxiety among teachers and staff in the district.

"What's the future, will we have to make cuts, will we be working, what kind of will we go into, will there be layoffs, my pay," Vellardita said listing a long line of concerns from his union members.

He said the union stands ready to fight any proposed budget cuts that could affect the classroom, but stopped just short of referencing last year's strike.

"Let me be clear, it's a line in the sand for us. We're not backing down from it. There can be no cuts in the classroom."

Instead of cutting, Vellardita suggested the state legislature establish new, more reliable, revenue streams like increased property taxes, mine taxes, and attempting to diversify Nevada's economy away from one that relies on entertainment and tourism.

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"Everything should be on the table," he said.

CCSD Superintendent Jesus Jara didn't say how the district plans to close the projected budget gap.

He said his team is waiting for more information from state officials including the amount of compensation they would receive through the Distributive School Account.

Jara said cuts were not included in the initial budget proposal because of the uncertainty.

"When we presented our budget, we did not make any reductions. None at all," he said.

Jara said he expects to receive more guidance from state officials before the end of the month.

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