Clark County teachers win arbitration over 2017-18 contract

Updated April 3, 2018 - 9:32 pm

An arbitrator sided with Clark County School District teachers Tuesday in their 2017-18 contract impasse, awarding educators increases in pay and health care contributions.

The district says the estimated $52 million deal could cause another major budget shortfall.

Teachers will move a step in the salary schedule effective June 1, 2018. The district’s contributions to health care through the Teachers Health Trust also will increase from roughly $538 to $583 a month. That increase will be retroactive to July 1, 2017.

The package will cost an estimated $13 million this fiscal year and an additional $38.5 million the next, according to the district. Officials will consult with counsel and School Board trustees to determine the next course of action, but the district did not say whether it would appeal the decision.

John Vellardita, executive director of the Clark County Education Association, said that while he’s glad the union prevailed in the decision, labor relations must be fixed. He said the arbitration session, which began in June 2017 and was the longest the union has had, cost the union half a million dollars.

“We want to improve labor relations with the school district,” Vellardita said. “We’d love to see the school district improve its negotiations rather than using arbitration as a narcotic. They’ve got to have a fix.”

District foresees shortfall

The arbitrator for the decision argued that the district could pay the award through $18 million left in its unassigned ending fund balance, a kind of reserve of money, for fiscal 2018.

Board President Deanna Wright said it’s a disappointment that the district’s unassigned ending fund balance is once again not protected from such rulings.

“The incoming money is not there to support this,” she said. “If we take it from the ending fund balance or we have to make more cuts or a combination, it’s a lose-lose, meaning that it’s not like we just have this pot of money.”

A low balance can affect the district’s bond ratings, which in turn can affect the district’s ability to borrow money at lower interest rates. Fitch Ratings downgraded the district from a BBB+ to BBB in December, noting a reduction in the district’s “already marginal reserves” in fiscal 2017.

The district said in a statement that the arbitration decision could create another major shortfall. For this year, trustees may have to decide whether to dip into the unassigned ending fund balance or make cuts to cover the $13 million. They also will have to figure out where to find the money in the next budget, for 2018-19.

Though the district will receive an extra $34 million for next year, that money must cover all increasing expenses for the district, including school openings, special education programs and other employee contracts, according to the statement.

The School Board will discuss next year’s tentative budget Wednesday.

Teachers Health Trust win

The move could mean the revival of the embattled Teachers Health Trust, which faces two lawsuits over a breach of fiduciary duty and unpaid medical claims. The School Board also has received a litany of complaints about health insurance and the trust, with blame placed either on the district or on the trust itself.

But Vellardita said the union proved that the district never increased its contributions, aside from a one-time increase in 2016, and that the trust was on the verge of going out of business as a result.

“With this additional money coming in, you better believe that there will be changes that are needed for educators in their family’s health care,” he said. “We’re going to be on track to accomplish that.”

The district has stated that the union has chosen to negotiate available funds to go toward salaries instead of health care contributions. In arbitration, it pushed for a switch in insurance.

But arbitrator Mario Bognanno argued that the trust improved in lag time paying claims and in its number of claims paid.

“The (trust) is making a genuine effort to regain financial stability,” he said.

Moving forward, the Clark County Education Association will call on the Legislature to create a funding stream dedicated solely for salaries. A bill in the last legislative session that would have created one didn’t pass.

“Teachers do not need to go year to year at the start of the school year with a degree of uncertainty and anxiety as to whether or not they’re going to get a pay raise or whether they’re going to have decent benefits,” Vellardita said.

State Sen. Tick Segerblom and Las Vegas City Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian have also called for marijuana revenue in the state’s rainy day fund to go toward education. The 10 percent retail tax has generated $22.8 million in its first seven months of existence.

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

NSPCA Gets Kittens From LA
Man killed during road-rage incident
Las Vegas police are looking for two men involved in the shooting death of a man outside a 7-Eleven story at Bonanza Road and Maryland Parkway on Nov. 12, 2018. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System hosts Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ
The 4th Annual Veterans Day Car Show and BBQ is held in celebration of Veterans Day at the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System Medical Center in North Las Vegas, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Wildfires in Southern California
Wildfires hit Ventura County, Calif., on Nov. 9, 2018. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dedication of Nevada's Battle Born memorial
The state of Nevada on Friday dedicated its Battle Born memorial honoring 895 state residents who have died in America’s wars.
Las Vegas police and Sunrise Children's Hospital hope to prevent infant deaths
The Metropolitan Police Department and Sunrise Children's Hospital held a press conference to get the message out on preventable infant deaths attributed to "co-sleeping" and other unsafe sleeping habits. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
No serious injuries after car hits tree in south Las Vegas
One person reported minor injuries but wasn’t hospitalized after a Wednesday morning crash in the south valley.
Nellis Air Force Base keeps airmen fed
Nellis Air Force Bass airmen have delicious and healthy food items, and a variety of dining facilities to choose from. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Las Vegas police determined that a suspicious package found Monday morning at a central valley post office was not a threat.
Suspicious package found at central Las Vegas post office
Police evacuated the area around the Garside Station post office early Monday morning near Oakey and Decatur boulevards.
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
With husband's passing, family in limbo for workers' comp claim
Meredith Tracy's husand, Russell Tracy, died more than a year ago on his first day working for a new company when he fell 22 feet into a manhole that was not properly safeguarded. His employer was fined $82,000 in penalties for unsafe practices, but the company has denied her workers' compensation claim, leaving her with no compensation since the death. Rachel Aston Las Vegas Review-Journal @rookie__rae
Las Vegas family shares flu warning
Carlo and Brenda Occhipinti lost their son, Carlo Jr., or “Junior,” to the flu last year.
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Stadust Raceway
Author Randall Cannon shares an anecdote about Dan Blocker, who played Hoss Cartwright on the TV show "Bonanza," and the actor's passion for auto racing at Stardust International Raceway in Las Vegas during the 1960s. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal.)
Project Neon 85 percent complete
On Wednesday morning Oct. 31, Interstate 15 northbound lane restrictions were removed opening up Exit 41 to Charleston Blvd. On Thursday Nov. 1, Interstate 15 southbound lane restrictions were removed. The new southbound off-ramp to Sahara Ave. and Highland Dr. also opened Thursday, November 1. With Project Neon 85% finished the flow of traffic on Interstate 15 has substantially diminished. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Girl killed after jumping from bridge onto 215 Beltway in Henderson
Eastbound lanes of the 215 Beltway are shut down by the Nevada Highway Patrol after a female juvenile jumped from the 215 overpass at Stephanie and was struck by a FedEx tractor trailer. Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Vegas88s
Kristallnacht story
An interview with 94-year-old Holocaust survivor Alexander Kuechel who survived seven concentration camps and didn’t leave Germany until after World War II was over. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1 dead in central Las Vegas crash
An early Wednesday morning crash left at least one person dead and another injured. The crash was reported just around 3 a.m. at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Swenson Street. At least two vehicles were involved in the crash, one of which caught fire. Debris was scattered across the intersection as police combed the area as they investigated the scene. Flamingo is blocked in both directions between Swenson and Cambridge Street. Northbound Swenson is blocked at the intersection.
Richard Knoeppel named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year
Richard Knoeppel, an architecture design instructor at the Advanced technologies Academy, named the 2018 Nevada Teacher of the Year on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mojave Poppy Bees
(Zach Portman/University of Minnesota Department of Entomology) Male Mojave poppy bees exhibit territorial fighting behavior. The Center for Biological Diversity wants the bee, found only in Clark County, to be added to the endangered species list.
Clark County Schools announce random searches
Clark County School District middle and high school students will be subject to random searches for weapons under a new initiative to combat the wave of guns found on campus. (Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss React to Dennis Hof's Death
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss speak about their friend and prominent brothel owner Dennis Hof's death at Dennis Hof's Love Ranch. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof has died
Nevada brothel owner and Republican candidate for Nevada State Assembly District 36, Dennis Hof has died. He was 72. Nye County Sherriff's office confirmed. Hof owned Love Ranch brothel, located in Crystal, Nevada.
Las Vegas police investigate suspicious package at shopping center
Las Vegas police evacuated a southeast valley shopping center at Flamingo and Sandhill roads early Tuesday morning while they investigated reports of a suspicious package. (Max Michor/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Las Vegas Metro hosts the K-9 Trials
The Las Vegas Metro K-9 Trials returns to the Orleans Arena to benefit the Friends For Las Vegas Police K-9 group.
Kingman residents love their little town
Residents of Kingman, Ariz. talk about how they ended up living in the Route 66 town, and what they love about their quiet community. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Service at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery
Twelve unclaimed veterans are honored at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City in Oct. 9, 2018. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas house prices reach highest level in 11 years
Las Vegas house prices are rising But so is the amount of available homes on the market Still, properties priced below $300,000 are selling fast And September was the first time since June 2007 that the median house price reached the $300,000 mark Las Vegas home prices have been rising at one of the fastest rates in the country over the past year Recent data show the market is now less affordable than the national average
National Night Out
About 100 Summerlin residents gathered at Park Centre Dr. in Summerlin on Tuesday for National Night Out. Lt. Joshua Bitsko with Las Vegas Metro, played with 3-year-old David who was dressed as a police officer. Face painting, fire truck tours and more kept kids busy as parents roamed behind them. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rural homeless issue comes to a head in Pahrump
On Sept. 12, Pahrump sheriff deputies told residents of a homeless encampment on private property that they had 15 minutes to vacate and grab their belongings. That decision might face some legal consequences. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like