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Judge upholds ruling that gave Clark County teachers a raise

Updated August 3, 2018 - 1:22 pm

A district judge on Friday upheld an arbitrator’s decision that Clark County teachers should receive a pay raise and increased district contributions to health care.

In a five-page order District Judge Rob Bare agreed with the arbitrator’s assessment that the district failed to show it could not pay for the raise sought by the Clark County Education Association, the local teachers union, during contract talks that ended in an impasse. Bare ordered the district to pay the raises, estimated to cost $13 million in fiscal year 2018 and $38.5 million the next year.

The arbitrator first issued a decision in late March, but the Clark County School District and trustees appealed in early April, citing an inability to pay.

“This court finds that the Clark County School District failed to meet its burden to establish that the March 30, 2018, arbitration award was either arbitrary or capricious, or based upon a manifest disregard of the law,” Bare wrote in his order. “This court finds that the … arbitration award was based upon an appropriate application of the statutory guidelines to the evidence presented throughout the arbitration.”

The arbitrator’s decision was one of the reasons the district pre-emptively had schools cut budgets in the spring, even as it appealed the ruling to the court. District officials said at the time the money would be held aside as the appeal worked through the court system.

It wasn’t immediately clear Friday whether the district would appeal the judge’s decision.

“Our legal team is in the process of reviewing the judge’s decision,” spokeswoman Kirsten Searer said Friday afternoon.

If the district doesn’t appeal, the increase in pay for teachers will be retroactive to June 1, 2018, and the district’s increased contributions to the Teachers Health Trust will be retroactive to July 1, 2017, per the original award.

John Vellardita, the executive director of the teacher’s union, urged new Superintendent Jesus Jara to use his influence to head off further appeals.

“When Superintendent Jara arrived, it’s clear that he inherited problems. At some point, those problems will become his problems,” Vellardita said. “I think this is an example, if we don’t have closure on this and move forward, it will then become his problem, and that’s not going to going to be good for our relationship.”

Contact Meghin Delaney at 702-383-0281 or mdelaney@reviewjournal.com. Follow @MeghinDelaney on Twitter.

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