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Schools facing $150 million budget pinch, 2,000 job cuts

Clark County School District officials anticipate a budget shortfall of $150 million or more for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

“The upcoming budget is really ugly,” Superintendent Walt Rulffes said Wednesday.

Without significant concessions from employee unions, the district may have to cut about 2,000 jobs to balance the budget for 2011-12, Rulffes said.

District officials stressed that the budget projections are preliminary. The assumptions are based on projected shortfalls in state funding, flat growth in property and other local tax collections, and the end of federal stimulus funding.

District officials said they would fight any new attempt by the state government to transfer money from the district’s capital budget to the district’s general operating budget. The Legislature did so this year to supplement the district’s general operating budget by $25 million.

Rulffes said the state cannot use district funding, which the district raised from bond sales, to cover the state’s obligations to fund public education.

Rulffes and other local district superintendents are expected to meet with Gov.-elect Brian Sandoval on Dec. 7 to discuss school funding.

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