LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Friday afternoon there was a glimmer of hope that thousands of Clark County School District teachers won't be walking off the job next month after Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak blasted school district leadership and laid the blame for the dispute with the teacher's union on CCSD.
The dissatisfied voices of thousands of Clark County teachers erupted in protest this week. They rallied outside of their schools and shut down a school board meeting.
"What we are sitting on is a tinder box,” said Clark County Education Association President John Vellardita. “You saw 1,200 educators in 107-degree weather for an hour and a half display their frustration over not being respected as the professionals they are."
Sisolak called a special news conference and said the legislature did its part back in June by moving over more money to pay for 3% raises, 2% step increases and increased health care coverage for the teachers.
"I get why teachers are angry. I would be angry too,” said Sisolak. "But today with the issue in front of us right now, the goal right now is avoiding a strike that would devastate families and our local economy. We are asking CCSD to live up to their commitment and asking CCEA to work in cooperation going forward."
With a strike deadline looming negotiations broke down over one crucial issue: column movement pay. That’s the increase teachers get for completing higher levels of training.
Vellardita says CCSD made an offer but they rejected it outright insisting the district should have budgeted for it.
"To suggest that somehow the problem that we have now which is a contract problem is the result of a shortfall up in the legislative session is not true or accurate,” said Vellardita.
"The fact that they did not include this in their budget is astounding! They created this mess and they need to fix it,” said Gov. Sisolak.
Vellardita emphasized the union will continue talks at the governor's urging but also said that this week’s demonstrations were only a preview of what could happen come September 10th.
"Let me be clear that is a sign of things to come if we don’t resolve this."
CCSD Communications issued a statement saying the district is seeking mediation with CCEA to provide additional options to resolve the matter.