A few thoughts on the teacher contract arbitration decision
To the CCSD community,
I hope you will give me a few minutes to talk with you about yesterday's decision by an arbitrator regarding the contract negotiations with the teachers association.
The arbitrator ruled that the District's first priority should be to provide the best instruction possible to children, and that means lowering our large class sizes. Our efforts now are to start restoring some of the 1,000 licensed positions that were cut at the beginning of this school year. We know this is important to you, as well.
Many teachers who received a “step” increase or an increase in pay for obtaining additional education for the current school year will no longer receive those increases on their February 25 paycheck because of the severe budget cuts the District has sustained. The District did not ask the arbitrator to require teachers to repay the increases they have already received this year.
The result of this arbitration decision will vary widely. You can see more details below, but the range of impact varies from some teachers who will see an actual increase of $15 per pay period, to others who will see a decrease of up to $208 per pay period. Most will fall somewhere in the middle of that range.
There is no getting around the fact that this might be very painful for many of the families in our community.
Unfortunately, this is one stop in a long road of difficult decisions caused by the $550 million in cuts the District has been forced to make because our funding from the Legislature has decreased. To find out where those cuts were made, click here - http://ccsd.net/district/open-book/resources/pdf/budget-cuts.pdf
We have tried to keep the cuts out of the classroom, but the reality is that salary and benefits account for 89 percent of our budget. Major cuts to our funding will impact employees. You can see a breakdown of our budget here - http://ccsd.net/district/open-book/resources/swf/budget-comparison.swf
I completely agree with those who say we are underfunded. It is easy to feel undervalued when funding for education is as low as it is. The reason for this is the Legislature has not adequately funded education, especially in the past few years.
I am proud that our CCSD family has managed to do more with less over the past few years. Last year, we saw increases in student achievement on standardized tests in almost every grade level and subject. That is a credit to all employees.
We do more with less because we care about our kids, and we do not want to look one parent in the eye and say that we can not offer his or her child a quality education because of budget cuts.
We have rallied as a community. But eventually, less is just less.
Our state needs to have a serious conversation about how we fund – and value – our public education system.
Where do we go from here? I was in touch yesterday with the leadership of the Clark County Education Association. We plan to join with other employee associations to take our message to Carson City in the current legislative session.
I pledge to you that we will fight to increase education funding so we stop making cuts and start investing in our children -- and you. We will keep you posted on this conversation.
In the meantime, I offer a humble “thank you” for all you do for our children.
A BREAKDOWN ON THE ARBITRATOR’S DECISION:
(Note: CCSD has a total of 17,568 teachers)
TEACHERS WHO DID NOT RECEIVE AN AUTOMATIC STEP INCREASE OR EDUCATIONAL INCREMENT THIS YEAR
For the teachers who received neither a step increase or an educational increment, their pay will increase by $15 per pay period (or $30 per month) because the arbitrator ruled that ALL teachers no longer have to pay $15 per pay period toward the financially stable retired Teachers Health Trust.
TEACHERS WHO RECEIVED AUTOMATIC STEP INCREASES – 11,020 teachers, or 63 percent of our teachers
The increases the teachers automatically received at the beginning of the year will stop in the next pay period. The average increase was $63 per pay period ($126 per month). By subtracting the $15 per pay period that they will no longer be paying to the Retiree Health Trust, their pay would go down an average of $48 per pay period (or $96 per month).
TEACHERS WHO RECEIVED AUTOMATIC EDUCATIONAL INCREMENTS: 2,148 teachers, or 12 percent of our teachers
For the 12 percent of teachers who received an educational increment (and did NOT also receive a step), their pay will be reduced by an average of $160 per pay period (or $320 per month). By subtracting the $15 per pay period that they will no longer be paying to the Retiree Health Trust, their pay would go down $145 per pay period (or $290 per month).
TEACHERS WHO RECEIVED BOTH A STEP INCREASE AND AN EDUCATIONAL INCREMENT INCREASE:
For the teachers who received both a step increase and an educational increment, their pay could be reduced by an average of $223 ($63+$160) per pay period (or $446 per month). By subtracting the $15 per pay period that they will no longer be paying to the Retiree Health Trust, their pay could go down $208 per pay period (or $416 per month).
NOTE: These numbers are not mutually exclusive - meaning that some teachers received both a step increase and an educational increment.
Dwight D. Jones
Superintendent of Schools