CCEA RALLY

Las Vegas teachers chanted and carried signs protesting planned budget cuts in the Clark County School District on Friday, May 31. (Jason Westerhaus/FOX5)

LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- The Clark County Education Association said a strike may be possible early in the school year if a settlement couldn't be reached between the union and the school district.

John Vellardita, the executive director of CCEA, said some progress has been made and negations will resume with the Clark County School District in the coming week regarding salary increases and resources in the classroom.

"We're cautiously optimistic, but we're still in a hold pattern," Vellardita said. "We're not going to let this go on forever, so we'd like to resolve this chapter and move forward with teaching 320,000 kids, but these educators are not going to start this school year much longer without any sort of pay increase."

He added there would be no strike on the first day of the school since CCEA is looking to resolve this issue at the table. Parents would be given notice if a strike were to occur during the school year if a deal could not be reached.

"The outcome of those negotiations has to be resources in the classroom and raises for teachers," Vellardita said in June. "If there's cuts, or they short change on raises, there still will be a strike."

During the 80th Session of the Nevada Legislature, Senate Bill 551 and Assembly Bill 309 were signed into law and included increases in teachers' salaries.

With the passage of both bills, CCSD would be able to provide teachers an average 2-percent increase seniority increase, plus a 3-percent cost of living increase.

Vellardita had previously said these increases were not enough, "Educators need to get those raises they have been promised. Resources in the classroom and raises have been our objective all along."

The school district is also facing challenges with class sizes and teacher shortages. According to Vellardita, CCSD has around 750 teacher vacancies, which affects about 32,000 students.

"The class size is one of our priorities, and it didn’t get done this session, but it's something that we’re looking forward to having good conversations around the class size," CCSD Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara said in June.

Vellardita said Jara was going to try and move teachers who are available, but are not in the classroom, into the classroom, but the district would still be significantly short on teachers.

"The biggest thing is the size of these classrooms," he said. "I mean, they're just at a level that's just unacceptable, and the fact that we have 750 vacancies starting this school year is, again, just another example of how serious this problem is. So for a front line educator, these are conditions that are very difficult to teach kids in."

Jara previously said he is striving to reach an agreement with the teachers union, and have both educators and students attend the first day of classes in August.

Copyright 2019 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved 

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