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Clark County schools reach tentative contracts with 3 unions

Clark County School District support staff, administrators and police administrators would receive a one-time 3 percent payment in an “unprecedented” tentative agreement that would finalize contracts with the three employee groups through the end of the current school year, the district announced on Thursday.

Now, district officials are looking ahead to the 2019 Legislature — hoping that all parties can work together to lobby for education funding.

“Today’s announcement ensures that we can move toward the legislative session as one team, with one goal — and that is to make CCSD the number one choice for students,” Superintendent Jesus Jara said in a statement.

The deals must be ratified by the union members and could be considered by the School Board as soon as its Oct. 18 meeting, a district spokeswoman said.

Contract negotiations between the district and the unions had been ongoing when the tentative deal was reached.

The one-time payment for the Education Support Employees Association would cost roughly $11 million for the 2018-19 school year.

Meanwhile, the two-year agreement with the Clark County Association of School Administrators and Professional-Technical Employees would give members a one-time raise for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years worth roughly $4.1 million.

The roughly $390,00 agreement with the small Police Administrator Association would give those employees retroactive pay to align with increases provided to other district administrators last year.

It also provides for a one-time 3 percent payment to settle the 2017-18 and 2018-19 contracts. The contract would be the association’s first negotiated agreement with the district.

ESEA President Virginia Mills said the union is pleased to bring the announcement to its members, who have been suffering from low morale after an arbitrator ruled against raises for the previous school year.

“This agreement between CCSD and ESEA is more than just a much-needed bump in members’ paychecks. It represents an acknowledgment of the role support professionals play in student success,” Mills said in a statement.

The tentative agreement follows a historic three-year contract between the district and the Clark County Education Association, which represents teachers, reached in August.

“This unprecedented effort allows for CCSD and its employee groups to put aside ongoing compensation negotiations, stabilize CCSD’s budget for the 2018-19 school year, and unite CCSD and its employee groups as we approach a critical legislative session,” said Board President Deanna Wright.

The district first offered a one-time payment to all five bargaining units in July, but that offer was undercut by a District Court judge’s August ruling in favor of an arbitration award to the teacher’s union. At the time, the district said it could not afford both the arbitration award and the one-time payment offer.

Money for the new round of payments would comes from funds left over in the ending fund balance of last school year, which came in about $8.7 million higher than expected, district spokeswoman Kirsten Searer said Thursday.

That was due to a central office hiring freeze and other unfilled positions and operational efficiencies, she said.

“The district will continue to utilize the central office hiring freeze, as well as look to identify additional operational efficiencies, to cover the remaining balance,” Searer said in an email.

The district also still needs to come to an agreement with the Police Officer’s Association for a 2017-18 contract.

Union President Matt Caldwell said Thursday that the matter is fairly close to a resolution.

Contact Amelia Pak-Harvey at apak-harvey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4630. Follow @AmeliaPakHarvey on Twitter.

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