Las Vegas school board ends meeting early amid pay protests
LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Las Vegas-area school board ended its meeting early after its attempt to cut off a public comment period prompted outbursts by educators calling for higher pay.
The board of the Clark County School District had slated 30 minutes for public comment at the Thursday meeting, giving a few people time to speak though dozens had signed up.
The educators called on the district to give raises promised for completion of professional development requirements.
“I, like many educators here today, have spent time and money working towards a column advancement just to be told the funds are not there,” Lashaun Limbrick, a counselor at Desert Pines High School, told trustees.
More teachers demanded to speak after board President Lola Brooks tried to close the comment period. The trustees were ushered backstage after efforts to quiet the crowd failed.
“It is unfortunate that we had to end the meeting early, but for the safety of our trustees, and everyone else in attendance, it was the right course of action,” Superintendent Jesus Jara said in a statement. “Safety at our public meetings must remain paramount.”
The teacher salary advancements are among the items the Clark County Education Association has been seeking in its contract negotiations with the district. The union has threatened that teachers will go on strike on Sept. 10 if an agreement isn’t reached.
State law prohibits public employees from going on strike. The union could be fined $50,000 a day if a strike occurs.
The district has offered teachers a 3% pay raise, a 2% step increase and a 4% increase in health insurance contributions for the school year.
The fifth-largest school district in the country is expecting a $35 million deficit over the next two years after state funding fell short of what it requested.