CCSD Teachers Willing to Strike for Higher Pay

New Survey Shows Overwhelming Support for Strike

Nevada's Morning News
April 16, 2019 - 8:52 am
CCSD Teachers Willing to Strike for Higher Pay

© Robert Hanashiro, USAT

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LAS VEGAS (KXNT)— A teacher strike may be looming in Las Vegas while legislators continue to debate school funding.

An internal poll conducted by the Clark County Education Association (CCEA) found that about 94% of educators in Clark County support a walk out or strike.

But teachers said it’s still far from that point and they remain hopeful that lawmakers will come through. A big campaign promise from Gov. Steve Sisolak, along with other democrats, was to raise the salaries for teachers across the state of Nevada. So educators are hoping to hold the democratica governor and democratically controlled state legislature to their words.

Despite immense support for some sort of action, it is unlikely that Clark County will see the same type of teacher's strikes that were held in California, Oklahoma, Colorado and West Virignia. This is because strikes are illegal for public employees in Nevada.

Although the definition of a strike is fairly broad, the penalties are harsh. The CCEA could be fined up to $50,000 per day, and the school district could fire any teaches who participate in the strike. 

Some of the requests from the teacher's union is better pay, smaller class sizes, more teaching materials, and overall improvement of teachning conditions. 

CCSD is the 5th largest school district in the nation, which is a cause of concern for many politicians and government workers if the teachers authorize a strike.

According to the job recruitment and salary statistics site, Glassdoor, the average starting salary for a teacher in Nevada is 7% below the national average. Moreover, due to the increase of private charter schools in Nevada, and a past emphasis on "school choice" from certain politicians, lack of funding for schools in Nevada has lead to a decline in student learning outcomes in the public school system.

In the most recent U.S. News & World Report ranking of public education in the U.S., Nevada ranks 49 out of 50 states in PreK-12 education, and 44th overall. Ther overall ranking includes all publicly funded instutions, such as colleges and PreK-12 schools.

Many teachers say the lack of funding from the state directly correolates to poor outcomes in the schools. However, Clark County Education Association is hoping the state legilsture will improve the lives of students and teachers by allocating more funds to public schools.

Executive Director for CCEA, John Vellardita says teachers are fed up and are willing to take the risk that comes with going on strike.

"Even though it's prohibitied, it's one of these tipping point moments where people say, 'you know what, I've got nothing left to lose,'" Vellardita said, while speaking to the CCSD Board of Trustess.

Vellardita says teachers want to hold lawmakers accountable after many ran on a platform of increasing funding for education.

There is no set timeline for when all of this may unfold. It’s based on what lawmakers do next. Summer break for CCSD is set for May 27th.

CCEA said it is holding a community rally on April 27.

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