Las Vegas teacher takes to Facebook to get message out about fighting back against cuts to Nevada education


Besides being a teacher and a father of four daughters, Mark Jimenez is trying to save funding for education in Nevada.

Jimenez started a Facebook group, Nevadans for Funding Education in Nevada, to rally support for his cause, which he said should be everyone's cause.

"This is catastrophic what's happening," Jimenez said . "This is (kindergarten) through college that's being hurt. It's all backward. Education should be the first thing funded."

The Clark County School District plans to cut $407 million next year to meet Gov. Brian Sandoval's proposed budget. It will result in increased class sizes, fewer class offerings and the elimination of more than 1,800 positions, mostly teachers.

The plan is tentative and subject to any revisions of Sandoval's budget.

P eople in the Las Vegas community don't seem very upset about what's happening, Jimenez said .

Jimenez wasn't active in the fight until about a month ago, when he attended his daughters' musical performances at Kitty Ward Elementary School, 5555 Horse Drive.

"The principal stood up and said we're going to have to cut those programs next year," Jimenez said . "I want them to have the best education possible, and I know they're not going to get the quality they deserve. The arts are so important to a kid's education."

Jimenez has an 8-year-old and 7-year-old twins who attend Ward. His wife watches their 3-year-old during the day.

Jimenez is a math teacher at the Northwest Career and Technical Academy, 8200 W. Tropical Parkway. To help support his family, he also teaches classes for five online schools, including the University of Phoenix, Kaplan University, Nevada Virtual Academy, Beacon Academy of Nevada and the Clark County School District's Virtual High School.

If there's one thing he wants to come out of this, he said it's for people to write their legislators.

"People seem to forget they work for us," Jimenez said .

Jimenez is gaining support, too.

One of his colleagues, health teacher Brenda Alapa, also said this issue isn't getting the attention it deserves from the community.

"People are complacent," Alapa said . "They need to be angry. The L egislature's not listening to its constituents. I don't think people realize how bad these cuts are going to be."

Alapa also said legislators should know that these 16- and 17-year-olds will be voting adults soon and they won't forget when elections come around again.

In addition to cuts to textbook and supply budgets, Alapa, Jimenez and every CCSD teacher may lose money because of furlough days and an increase in the cost of benefits.

They want people to know that nothing is final yet and there is still time to write to legislators before the state's budget is finalized next month.

In Jimenez's classroom is a poster that reads, "Stand up for what is right, even if you're standing alone."

With more than 2,000 members in his group, he's not alone anymore.

To find your legislator, visit leg.state.nv.us/session/76th2011/legislators.

Contact View education reporter Jeff Mosier at jmosier@viewnews.com or 224-5524.

 

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