Back to school is just around the corner and students in Clark County could see a big difference in the classroom this year. Teachers in the cash-strapped school district said they're bracing for larger class sizes with as many as 40 students per class.
"Bigger numbers in the classroom can be scary," said Conni Dunham, a kindergarten teacher. "It means less assistance and less help. I'm going to need a double set of materials."
Dunham thought teaching 34 children in her kindergarten class was tough. Now it's about to get tougher. The school district told her to be ready to teach close to 40 students.
"Even when my classroom was up to 34, I had to get creative to find a seat," Dunham said. "Sometimes you don't have a place to put them."
Dunham said larger class sizes means she'll have to teach at a slower pace and spend less individual time with students. Fifth-grade teacher Autumn Lessenberry also expects to have 40 students in her class.
"Kids may not be at the same reading level," Lessenberry said. "You have to adjust what you are doing and make sure everybody is learning something."
The Clark County School District said it's rehiring most of the 400 workers who were laid off at the end of the previous school year because other teachers have retired or resigned. They're still negotiating with the teachers union to bring 1,000 positions back.
"We are still down 1,000 positions," Clark County School District representative Staci Vesneske said. "We had enough people retire so we were able to bring back these teachers. Class sizes won't be impacted at all by bringing back those teachers."
Lessenberry hopes they bring the positions back soon and remains focused on the children.
"I don't want the kids to know it's a struggle for me," Lessenberry said. "It's difficult every day waking up and I love my job. I go in for the kids. I don't go in for any other reason."
Both teachers were at the Sharing is Caring teacher consignment event in Las Vegas. Teachers can buy and sell supplies there. They said they're hoping to save money, knowing there's less money in the district to go around.
The teacher consignment event is this weekend from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Tropicana Beltway Center near I-215.
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