Union questions school district’s budget balancing scenario

The local teachers union contended Thursday that Clark County School District’s budget balancing scenario of 1,000 teacher layoffs to save $39 million if wage freezes aren’t enacted is misleading.

The school district has the money in its coffers to balance the budget without teacher pay freezes, Clark County Education Association President Ruben Murillo said

He spoke 100 picketing teachers at Thursday’s School Board meeting.

The district already has heard this claim from the union in arbitration, and it’s completely false, spokeswoman Amanda Fulkerson said.

But the union asserts the money is there, according to an analysis of the district’s finances by union-hired accountant Beth Kohn-Cole.

The accountant identified $16 million in federal money remaining from the Education Jobs Fund.

That money is there, replied Fulkerson, but the allocation expires June 13 and can’t be used for recurring expenses, such as teacher salaries.

The district needs $39 million for this school year and another $39 million for 2012-13.

The union also said the district has set aside $10 million to $27.5 million for positions it never filled.

That money already has been reallocated to other places so that the district can “stay afloat,” Fulkerson said.

As for the $11.6 million in the Food Service’s fund that the union said is sitting unused, Fulkerson said that money is paying for food services’ expenses.

An arbitrator will decide whether the accountant’s analysis — which the union hasn’t released — is valid.

The parties moved to arbitration after the union called an end to negotiations and declared impasse in August.

Contact reporter Trevon Milliard at tmilliard@review or 702-383-0279.

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