Thousands of Clark County School District jobs might be targeted in a plan to reduce staffing as officials try to reconcile the system's bleak financial forecast with a state deadline for submitting next year's tentative budget.
According to a memo sent to Clark County School Board members, job cuts will be needed to make up an anticipated funding shortfall of up to $400 million for the 2011-12 school year.
"Everything is on the table," said Michael Rodriguez, a district spokesman.
The School Board on Thursday will consider a work force reduction plan. The district must submit a tentative budget plan to the Nevada Department of Taxation by April 15.
Early budget projections showed that cutting 3,800 positions could save the district $250 million to $275 million.
School librarians, school-based computer specialists and special education facilitators could be on the elimination list, according to staff members who on Friday were at a superintendent's cabinet meeting when proposed personnel reductions were discussed.
District officials would not confirm specific cuts on Monday but have emphasized that employee union concessions would mitigate the need for layoffs.
The district currently employs about 18,000 teachers and other licensed personnel to serve nearly 310,000 students.
In response to community feedback and online survey results, Superintendent Dwight Jones has indicated that he would protect programs in music, the arts and athletics but would look at cuts in the district's administration.
The public also has supported the reduction of literacy specialists and teachers for students learning to speak English, according to an online survey by the district.
The survey also showed support for increasing class sizes by three students, but did not specify which grade levels should be expanded.
This year, class sizes were increased by two students each in the primary grades, resulting in class sizes of 18 students in first and second grades and 20 students in third grade. Elementary schools then eliminated 540 teaching positions to save $30 million.
High school classes typically have 40 or more students.
The district faces a funding shortfall of about $400 million based on expected reductions in state aid and diminished revenue from local sales taxes and property taxes.
Gov. Brian Sandoval, who has vowed not to raise taxes, also has proposed reducing state support to K-12 education by 9 percent, or more than $200 million, in the 2011-13 budget.
His proposal calls for 5 percent cuts in teacher salaries and a $270 reduction in per-pupil support.
Because of the economic downturn, the district's budget has declined from $2.25 billion in 2008-09 to about $2.1 billion for the current fiscal year. The district has eliminated 1,734 positions since 2007.
Dan Swenson, a librarian at O'Callaghan Middle School, near Hollywood Boulevard and Washington Avenue, said he is concerned about job cuts but has learned from experience not to get too worried.
"I've been around enough to know that the school district uses athletics, the arts and librarians as hot buttons to get the public's attention," said Swenson, who has been a district employee for 25 years.
But Swenson also agreed with the sentiment that "now is the time for advocacy."
Ruben Murillo, president of the Clark County Education Association, which represents district teachers, thinks district officials are preparing for a "worst-case scenario" because of the state's deadlines for submitting next year's budget.
The district won't know what its state funding will be until lawmakers approve a budget. The district must submit a final budget to the state by June 16.
The planning for a reduction in force must start in April to give school administrators time to organize class schedules for next year. April is also the transfer season for teachers interested in jobs at other schools.
School Board President Carolyn Edwards said the purpose of Thursday's consideration of a reduction-in-force plan is to give staff the flexibility to prepare for next year.
She expected there will be a more detailed budget discussion during an April 6 workshop.
"If we haven't heard of any concessions from the unions at that point, we may have to go forward" with a reduction in staff, she said.
Contact reporter James Haug at email@example.com or 702-374-7917.