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Teachers union launches attack ads against board trustees

Already facing five opponents each in the primary election, two Clark County School Board incumbents have encountered a new opponent in an old friend — the local teachers union.

The Clark County Education Association, which represents the approximately 18,000 teachers who work for the Clark County School District, recently posted blistering Internet ads against District A Trustee Deanna Wright and school board president and District C Trustee Linda Young.

Both candidates have sat on the board since 2008 and previously enjoyed endorsements and financial backing from the union.

“We at one time endorsed (Young and Wright), embraced their leadership and with great expectations expected leadership to emerge from both,” said CCEA executive director John Vellardita.

“What we’ve seen in the last eight years, at least, is not the type of leadership that the school district needs.”

Vellardita would not disclose how much the CCEA paid for the attack ads, and the union did not list the amount on a contributions and expenses report it filed on Tuesday with the Nevada secretary of state.

Wright and Young currently face the most challengers in four open seats for the school board.

Vellardita said the union’s elections committee decided not to make any endorsement — for now — in the District B and E races, which attracted far fewer candidates.

In early May, the CCEA endorsed Mallory Levins, a college access coordinator, and Adam Johnson, a local director with Teach for America, in their bids to unseat Wright and Young, respectively.

Together in Politics, one of the CCEA’s political action committees, contributed a combined $10,000 to Levins and Johnson and produced three additional videos in support of their campaigns.

As of Tuesday, none of the five videos have aired on local TV. But on YouTube, they have generated about 5,000 total views since the CCEA posted the first attack ad against Young on May 5.

 

That ad, titled “SOS,” criticized the board president for not listening to concern raised over failing schools and the dropout rate.

“And what do we get back? SOS. Same old story,” a voiceover says. “Linda Young. One excuse after another. F.”

A harsher attack ad describes Wright as a “story of failure.”

 

“It’s not worth my time to comment,” Wright said in a text message Tuesday.

For her part, Young stressed a repeated campaign pitch to raise the starting salary for teachers from a current $40,900 to $50,000. She wants to increase the maximum salary for teachers to $110,000, up from a current $90,877.

“On every issue, particularly for our teachers, I’ve been there and will continue to be there,” Young said. “I support our teachers.

“I support higher salaries as well as great working conditions,” she added. “I voted for every support for teachers and in fact, in a lot of instances, I led those. They may not know that, but I did.”

Early voting in the primary election lasts through June 10. Primary election day is June 14, with the general election following this fall.

A previous version of this story misidentified the races in which the union’s election committee decided not to make an endorsement.

Contact Neal Morton at nmorton@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0279. Find him on Twitter: @nealtmorton

 

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