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Nevada lawmakers announce $250M in leftover funds

Posted at 6:22 PM, May 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-24 23:02:45-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A teacher strike could be avoided in Nevada thanks to an emerging legislative proposal that would have $250 million towards teacher pay increases, creating smaller classes, and school safety initiatives.

The Republican Caucus announced the quarter billion dollar windfall of funds on Friday.

John Vellardita, Executive Director of the Clark County Education Association, said teachers have demanded more funding for a range of issues and voted to call a strike if the legislature didn't meet their demands.

"We're optimistic," Vellardita said, "teachers should be paid. There's no doubt about it. There were promises made, and they should be kept."

Keeping kids safe has been the number one priority for the Clark County School district, according to spokesperson Kirsten Searer.

She said the district confiscated 17 guns on school campuses, and CCSD police arrested 46 students for making school-related threats this school year alone.

"We know that our kids are facing more adult issues," Searer said. "They're bringing those adult issues into our schools."

Republican Senator Kieth Pickard said part of the $250 million came from legislative committees cutting back on school safety initiative funding proposed by a school safety task force Governor Brian Sandoval appointed in 2018.

The Republican Caucus said Friday that they wanted to fund those initiatives once again thoroughly.

"Our kids can't learn if they can't feel safe at school," Searer said.

Searer and Vellardita both said they're cautiously optimistic about the proposal, but, with more than a week left in the legislative session, there has been no guarantee that they will see a dime of the quarter billion dollar windfall.

"I think, with any legislative session, it's not over until the fat lady sings," Searer said. "Things can change day to day in the last week."

Vellardita didn't say if $250 million would be enough to avoid a teacher strike.

The final day of the legislative session is June 3.