School Board ap­proves cuts to save up to $13.9M

Las Vegas Review-Journal - - FRONT PAGE - By Amelia Pak-har­vey Las Ve­gas Re­view-jour­nal

The Clark County School Board ap­proved po­ten­tially $13.9 mil­lion more in cuts on Thurs­day, elim­i­nat­ing nearly 315 jobs as it grap­ples with a $50 mil­lion to $60 mil­lion deficit that will re­quire even more rounds of cuts.

A to­tal of 272.5 po­si­tions and var­i­ous ser­vices will be cut to ad­dress part of the fis­cal 2018 deficit, sav­ing roughly $7 mil­lion to $13.9 mil­lion. The board ap­proved $43 mil­lion in cuts last month.

Trustee Kevin Child was the sole no in a 5-1 vote. He ar­gued for hold­ing off on the vote for the pub­lic to di­gest the cuts and for Trustee Chris Gar­vey — the only ab­sent board mem­ber — to pro­vide in­put.

Cen­tral ad­min­is­tra­tion will lose an ad­di­tional 44 jobs to cover part of the cen­tral of­fice’s por­tion of pay raises for the dis­trict’s ad­min­is­tra­tors — which could re­coup $2.4 mil­lion to $4.8 mil­lion. That’s still not enough to cover the $7.7 mil­lion im­pact of the raises to the cen­tral of­fice.

Those jobs — both filled and va­cant — range from cler­i­cal po­si­tions to build­ing en­gi­neers and were ranked as cuts that would have the least im­pact on stu­dents.

How­ever, dis­trict of­fi­cials are

DEFICIT

hope­ful that those em­ploy­ees won’t lose jobs in the dis­trict, as they may be re­as­signed through the sur­plus process.

The cuts came amidst cries from the pub­lic to cut from higher of­fices first.

“The main­te­nance work­ers, the cus­to­dial staff and even the teachers … these are peo­ple who make pen­nies com­pared to your higher salaries,” said teacher Chet Miller.

“If each one of them took a small cut in their pay, you’d save more jobs than you would know.”

David Frances, par­ent of a spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion stu­dent, protested cuts to spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion ser­vices.

Those in­clude drop­ping pro­ject fa­cil­i­ta­tors and a di­rec­tor for spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion in the Stu­dent Ser­vices Di­vi­sion.

“To me, to cut any­thing when it comes to an ed­u­ca­tion of any stu­dent, never mind spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion, is un­ac­cept­able,” he said.

A pub­lic sur­vey that drew 26,395 re­sponses found that the com­mu­nity most pre­ferred sav­ings to come from clos­ing all schools and build­ings over the hol­i­days — a $14 mil­lion re­duc­tion achieved by cut­ting seven work­ing days for ad­min­is­tra­tors and some sup­port staff.

The other two top rec­om­men­da­tions were chang­ing some 12-month ad­min­is­tra­tor po­si­tions to 11 months, sav­ing $3 mil­lion, and re­duc­ing the work year for all em­ploy­ees by one day for $8 mil­lion in sav­ings per day.

The cuts are not enough to cover the deficit — par­tic­u­larly be­cause the dis­trict is al­ready eat­ing into ser­vices it needs to cut as it’s a quar­ter of the way into the school year.

The board will likely ap­prove more re­duc­tions on Sept. 28.

So far, schools will only be re­spon­si­ble for shav­ing off $17.4 mil­lion

from their in­di­vid­ual bud­gets to cover the cost of salary in­creases for their ad­min­is­tra­tors. The dis­trict has also an­nounced it will not lay off teachers.

“What we’ve been work­ing hard on is try­ing to pre­vent more cuts to schools,” Su­per­in­ten­dent Pat Sko­rkowsky told the board.

Schools will amend their in­di­vid­ual bud­gets next week to ab­sorb their part of the fis­cal im­pact, which could vary from school to school.

The deficit stems from a num­ber of fac­tors — in­clud­ing lower-than-ex­pected state rev­enues for spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion and full-day kinder­garten.

Yet teacher Angie Sul­li­van ques­tioned why the dis­trict did not know of the deficit sooner.

“The peo­ple who cre­ated this sup­posed prob­lem, I’m sorry, I don’t want to hurt any­body, but they need to take the hit this time,” she said.

Con­tact Amelia Pak-har­vey at apak-har­vey@re­viewjour­nal. com or 702-383-4630. Fol­low @ Ameli­a­pakhar­vey on Twit­ter.

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