Clark County teachers are celebrating now that they have a new contract. The district's board of trustees unanimously approved the two year contract late Thursday night.
"It's elation right, this has been long struggle for teachers," said Durango High School Teacher, Dan Barber.
What teachers and union members are most excited about, the $135 million contract includes pay raises for the more than 18,000 teachers. It includes four salary increases over the next nine months that will be based on education and experience, capping off at $90,000 a year.
"It's a good opportunity, there's going to be an investment in us, in education" said Clark County Education Association President, Vikki Courtney.
Angry teachers staged protest after protest and rally after rally following a wage freeze, finally they were heard, getting the raises they fought so hard for.
"For some teachers we felt that we were being disrespected or taken advantage of and as professionals we expect to be respected as professionals and paid like professionals and we weren't," said Barber.
As part of the deal, the base salary for new teachers goes up from $35,000 to $40,000, something the district hopes will help it recruit the extra teachers it so desperately needs.
"We recognize we are in a crisis, we need to hire so that was definitely one of the goals as we had the contract prepared," explained Clark County School District Communications Director, Michelle Booth.
Teachers will also see a small bump in their cost of living pay and better health care contributions. The money to pay for it all has to come from somewhere.
The district is now looking at making cuts in other areas to pay for the contract.
"We are going to have to make a lot sacrifices to make this work, be very resourceful. "We're going to have to make a lot of cuts to maintenance, unless it's safety or something, we are going to have to make a lot of cut backs there," said Booth.
Human resources and payroll are also expected to see cuts, as are various programs but no layoffs are expected.
"We're just going to be pinching our pennies but we definitely think this is worth it because we need to recruit our teachers, that's what our students need and that's a priority," said Booth.
There's also a new start date for the 2017-2018 school year. Teachers will start August 9 and the first day for students will be August 17.
The @CCSD_Trustees voted unanimously to approve two-year teacher contract. Addresses recruitment, retention and professional development.
— CCSD (@ClarkCountySch) January 15, 2016
— CCEA Teachers (@cceainfo) January 15, 2016