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CCSD announces raise in starting salary for teachers, a retention bonus for others

The Clark County School District will increase the starting salary of teachers to $50,115
Published: May. 31, 2022 at 2:14 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - In a news conference Tuesday, Clark County School District Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara announced they would be raising the starting salary for teachers.

According to Dr. Jara, CCSD will raise the starting salary from $43,000 to $50,115. Current teachers who are making less than that per year will have their salary bumped up to at least that number.

“That puts us above a lot of districts on the west coast,” said Jara. “We are committed to all our employees.”

In addition, current teachers making more than $50,115 will get a one-time $5,000 bonus; and so will administrators and school police officers, according to Jara. Support staff members will get a bonus of $4,500.

Jara, who noted it was the first raise in starting pay for teachers since 2015, said he needed to do this to ensure CCSD remained competitive.

“In order for us to attract teachers, to better secure our schools, increase student achievement, reduce class sizes and improve our working conditions for them... I’ll be able to do that,” said Jara.

It comes after months of outcries by school staff regarding their compensation in the face of concerns surrounding their health and safety amid rising campus violence and COVID-19. With the number of vacancies for licensed positions growing over the past year, CCSD’s latest announcement comes on the heels of the district referring to its staff shortage as “critical.”

“A teacher can’t buy a home?” Marie Neisess, President of the Clark County Education Associations. “They went to college, they’re a college-educated professional, but now they can’t purchase a home? Because its so astronomically high?”

At the closure of a turbulent school year and in the wake of the Uvalde shooting, the president of local teachers union CCEA told FOX5 of the importance of recruiting and retaining school staff at CCSD.

“We’re losing educators more than ever,” said Neisess. “We need as many bodies on campuses as possible.”

Since then, we’ve learned CCEA and other school staff labor unions were in the midst of employee pay negotiations with the district.

“That’s huge, right?” said Kristan Nigro, a CCSD kindergarten teacher. “That’s a really big deal for new educators coming in, especially inflation... the housing market, the whole nine yards.”

But district leaders said more efforts to recruit and retain will be announced soon.

“This one thing will help, but it’s not the only thing we’re planning on doing,” said Board of Trustees President Irene Cepeda, who represents District D.

Jara said he and the board are “working on” CCSD support staff healthcare as well, but did not go into detail.

Jara’s latest investment will cost $165,000,000, and was authorized by the district’s Board of Trustees.

“School districts across America are expecting and experiencing teacher shortages,” said Jara.

CCSD has about 42,000 staff members, but the district has not been fully staffed since the 1990s. But the gaps became more severe this school year. By April, CCSD had already lost around 1,700 teachers, according to numbers compiled by Data Insight Partners. Compared to an average school year, that’s a 78 percent increase.

On Tuesday, Superintendent Jara said his latest move is not related to a high number of teachers quitting. Rather, he said it is related to the number of vacancies they have.

There are currently more than 1,500 vacancies listed for licensed teacher positions on CCSD’s jobs page.

Jara said he is raising starting pay to gain an edge on California’s starting teacher positions.

“The ones that are a little bit over $50,000 are in California, and I think, when you look at the cost of living, it’s a better salary structure than my colleagues across the mountains,” said Jara.

CCSD Board of Trustees President Irene Cepeda, representing District D, added that this will be the extent of their efforts.

“Recruitment, retention, is a complicated -- it is a complicated piece. There are so many pieces to it, it’s multifaceted, so this one thing will help, but it’s not the only thing we’re planning on doing,” said Cepeda.