LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — With Democrats in control of Carson City, the head of the Clark County School District's teachers' union says he "expects good things" as lawmakers get ready to meet.
"In 2015 good things happened when one party controlled government. 2019, one party controls the government we expect better things to happen in this government," John Vellardita, the Executive Director of the Clark County Education Association said.
Vellardita said the union's research has come up with $408 million as the amount that would be needed each year to help address issues in CCSD.
"To reduce class sizes, expand programs for English-language learners, expand Gate programs for gifted and talented," Vellardita said. "That money is very clearly needed, that amount of money and that is what we are advocating for."
That is just the beginning of what Vellardita says an extra $408 million in funding would do for Clark County students each year.
"Not just any dollars, but dollars that follow a student into the classroom where they learn," Vellardita said.
The union head said Says he "expects good things" from the upcoming legislative session after Governor Steve Sisolak said education is a top priority for his administration.
"All classrooms, not just the wealthy, all classrooms need to be treated equally," Sisolak said.
The union isn't alone, CCSD Superintendent Jesus Jara is driving a similar message toward lawmakers.
"Drive money back into the classroom," Jara said.
Vellardita knows money doesn't grow on trees, so he is challenging lawmakers to "think outside the box" to find ways to generate extra revenue saying he doesn't expect to find all $408 million in one legislative session but says it is a goal.
"You are not going to fix funding without more revenue. You are certainly not going to fix it significantly," Vellardita said.
The one thing on his side is the fact that parents and teachers are now armed with hard facts after the district's reorganization gave them a more in-depth look at the budgets for their childrens' schools and where exactly the money is being spent.
Vellardita said CCEA has already gathered 15,000 signatures from parents and teachers demanding more funding for schools in the 2019 legislative session.