A $40 million grant is at stake for local schools. The teachers union is trying to block the money from coming to southern Nevada. On Thursday night, Gov. Brian Sandoval met with the Clark County School District and the union to make sure the county doesn't miss out on the Race to the Top federal grant. Friday is the deadline to apply.
The Clark County School District says it may go ahead and apply for the federal grant. However, they likely won't get it if the teachers union doesn't sign off. The union is still at odds with the district because they wanted to help write the grant.
"The meetings were very productive. I think there is not a final agreement, but I think we made a lot of progress. I'm very optimistic we can get something done. We have to have something done by tomorrow evening," Sandoval said.
Erica Downing's child is in preschool at Martinez Elementary. She's happy with her daughter's education now but worried about the future.
"The schools don't have enough funding for the things that they need," said Downing. "Kids need to learn about computers. They are young and that's the future."
A $40 million Race to the Top grant could help bring more technology into classrooms like John Mroz's. He and the teachers union are concerned the grant could unfairly base teacher pay on student performance.
"They are holding the teachers to an all-new or different accountability, a higher accountability," said Mroz. "They didn't ask us for our input."
Mroz teaches up to 48 children in a class at an at-risk school. He said improving their education can be difficult.
"A lot of places there's not parental involvement, so you don't have the kid coming home after school and studying," Mroz said.
"They (parents) shouldn't be fearful, they should be proud that these parties have come together to work together because they all want the same thing. If (we) have to take it all the way to the deadline, so be it," Sandoval said.
Clark County School District representatives contend they met with 1,600 teachers about the grant and arrived at the conclusion that it would help rather than hurt them.
"We would be able to hire more teachers and provide them more resources in the classroom to better teach those kids," said Amanda Fulkerson with the Clark County School District. "We could get some assistance so they have more one-on-one time."
Downing hopes the school district and the teachers union settle their differences for the sake of her child.
"My child is just starting, but she's got 18 more years of going through this," said Downing. "Public schools need it."
This is the first step in an attempt to get the grant. The school district is not guaranteed the money if the union signs off.
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