On Thursday March 24, 2011, the CCSD School Board of Trustees discussed the fiscal budget proposed by Superintendent Dwight Jones for the 2011-2012 academic year. The current proposal, available here, calls for eliminating a minimum of 2,486 positions and cutting $411 million from the $2.1 billion of the CCSD operating budget.

According to the CCSD online budget survey available to the public from March 1 – 15 that garnered 12,958 responses, constituents recommended an average cut of $237 million. In a county of 1,951,269 people (US Census 2010), about 6.6% of Clark County residents completed the survey.

“The greatest tragedy related to the budget cuts has been the complacency from our community. Many are still uniformed or they think that these budget cuts really won’t happen,” comments SWCTA Principal Felicia Nemcek.

Based on survey results, the people surveyed did not select the option to reduce or eliminate athletics, activities, and supplies.

“When we think about [students being] ‘ready by exit,’ we need to think about the reason that kids come to school and engage,” states Trustee Erin Cranor.

The average survey results showed that the CCSD constituents assessed agreed that class sizes could increase by three students, busing transportation reduced, salaries could be cut 2%, addition of three furlough days, and the reduction of administration by 9% would least drastically affect education. Participants also supported creating and/or identifying additional revenue sources.

“They made a school that nobody can come to without a bus,” exclaims junior Noah Shakespeare.

The tentative budget proposal reflects one public recommendation: the retaining of athletics and extra-curricular activities. A sampling of the following cuts reflects public opinion, but is more severe than what was suggested:

  • Salary step and education increment freeze.
  • A 7.8% reduction in salaries for all employees.
  • Educational Computer Strategists and Literacy Specialists cut by 50%.
  • Administrative department budgets cut by 20%.
  • Increase class size for high school by seven students.
  • Consolidate school bell times.
  • School textbook/supply budgets cut 25%

“By agreeing to what is currently on the table, I firmly believe that not only do we stop progress, but I think that as a state, we actually go backwards because any progress we have made will be halted immediately by the cuts that are being made,” states Trustee John Cole.

If the unions do not agree with the terms presented by the school board, extra cuts will be needed. If this occurs, CCSD has also proposed additional cuts for the remaining $113.1 million deficit. These extra cuts may include:

  • Increasing the high school transportation radius to three miles.
  • Eliminating special education facilitators, magnet school off-ratio staffing, English Language Facilitators.
  • Eliminating transportation to magnet and career and technical schools.
  • And $51.9 million yet-to-be identified cuts.

“I think this is outrageous and I think there should be a swell of protests by the public that we are being asked to do something that we know… will harm this state potentially for generations,” states Trustee Carolyn Edwards.

Trustees and CCSD staff are working diligently to find alternate sources of revenue to cushion the cuts and communicate with Nevada legislators the importance of education and funding the future.

“I feel like they only cared about public high schools. They are cutting the most successful programs. I mean, students at CTAs are more focused on their education,” says junior Raina Benford.

The adoption of the tentative budget is set for the April 6 meeting.